BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern women's lacrosse team is looking forward to a new season, opening up at home on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Coming off a 2018 season that saw BSC go 9-7 overall, 3-3 in the Southern Athletic Association and reach the semifinals of the conference tournament, the Panthers are looking to build off the lessons learned last year.
"We saw a tremendous amount of adversity last year," head coach Logan Harris said. "So much so that we played our last four games a man down and won three of them."
That adversity is something Harris says the Panthers can look to if ever circumstances seem tough in 2019.
"From that experience last year, this team just has a lot of belief in what they're capable of and what they can do," she said. "I think that will power and mental toughness has stuck with them this offseason and heading into the season. I don't think there's anything that can really phase them."
Experience is always important to a team's success. And Harris has a few veterans on her squad, like senior captain Katie Gleeson (Franklin, Tenn./Franklin HS) who has 48 career starts, 103 goals and 60 assists, as well as sophomore captain Rachel Fahad (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg HS) and junior captain Zoe Taylor (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg HS) to lead the team.
"Those girls are instrumental in setting the example on and off the field," Harris said. "They're all about accountability and doing the little things right."
"Everything from start to finish, they see it through and they show that and exemplify that and everyone else follows suit," she added.
But, Harris said, most of this year's starting lineup will be made up of freshmen and sophomores and she expects a few to make immediate impacts.
"We have a sophomore transfer, Carly Gainey (Peachtree City, Ga./Starr's Mill HS), who is going to be huge for us on the defensive side," she said. "She can play midfield and she can also take the draw, so she's versatile. And her height will also be an advantage to her game."
"Offensively, we have a freshman, Lizzie LaVangie (Jacksonville, Fla./Darlington School), who has great speed, great attitude, a great work ethic. We hope to see a lot from her, too, all over the field but really on the offensive end," Harris added.
To start the season, the Panthers will open with Division II opponent Alabama-Huntsville at Krulak Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 9.
"We open with UAH, so a Division II program to kick us off," Harris said. "That's always a nice, challenging game in terms of learning and developing and setting the tone for the season."
Other non-conference matches for the Panthers include games against Montevallo, Piedmont, Point, Southwestern and Huntingdon.
In the SAA, the Panthers expect another tough fight to get to a conference championship game.
"There are no teams in our conference that we can take lightly and that's a matter of fact," Harris said. "But I do have high expectations for us in conference play. We'll get out of this season what we put into it. If the girls work hard, day in and day out, and maintain the mental toughness needed in those games then I think we'll fare well."
With the right mix of experience and talent and a good level of mental toughness on the field for the Panthers, Harris said she believes this team can accomplish many of the team goals they set for themselves.
"As with every year, we definitely want to see continuing growth and progress throughout the season," she said. "I have high hopes that we're capable of achieving a lot this year, finishing well and just really doing everything as a team and having a great team mentality."
Birmingham-Southern will host UAH at home on Saturday, Feb. 9 with the start of the game slated for 1 p.m.
JOIN THE B-FUND TODAY – Support BSC Athletics today by joining the B-Fund. Gifts to the B-Fund help support all of our 22 sports teams, coaches, and 450+ student-athletes. Used as the common funding source for championship rings, championship banners, facility upgrades, new transportation, and more, the B-Fund allows the department to enhance the athletic experience of every student-athlete at Birmingham-Southern.