BY THERESA SCANLON
After roughly four months of conditioning, both the men and women’s Franciscan University of Steubenville lacrosse teams are ready to compete in less than a month. As a new program at the university, the FUS lacrosse teams are anxious to see how their hard work has paid off, and what competition they are up against.
With a squad of about eighteen men, Baron lacrosse head coach, Peter Rosaschi, has required only the best from his players. He hopes that the sport will impact his men on and off the field.
“We want to win every single game we play,” Rosaschi said. “But I also want the players to come back in four or five years, no matter what state of life they are in, and feel proud to have played Franciscan lacrosse.”
Rosaschi has been anticipating the men’s first game for months, when his men will play at Ohio Valley on February 23rd. Because they have not yet been able to compete together, the Baron’s will face challenges during their first season, however, their close-knit relationships and rigorous practice schedule will help them to pull through.
“Because we have never worked with each other in a live game, there is so much to build,” Rosaschi said. “The best way to come together as a team is to go through something emotional, such as very hard practices in the first couple of weeks.”
Playing in the Alleghany Mountain Collegiate Conference, Franciscan will face teams who have been competing with each other for multiple years, such as La Roche College and Bethany College. In order to compete with these teams, the Barons will have to stay in shape and avoid injury.
“We have no history to look back on as a team,” Rosaschi said. “No great plays that we can draw from. Every day in practice we are creating that foundation. The wins and losses will take care of themselves. If we bond as a family and work together as a team, then everything will fall into place.”
Franciscan women’s lacrosse head coach Maura Conant also stressed the importance of laying a foundation for such a new team. The women’s lacrosse team is made up of 15 freshman and sophomores, most of who have not had experience with lacrosse in the past, but who have athletic talents in sports such as field hockey and soccer.
“I’m looking to have three building years with this team, starting this inaugural season by focusing heavily on stick skills,” Conant said. “We want to perfect the basics before we move to anything else.”
The Lady Barons practice six days a week from 6 am to 8 am at an indoor facility. Their season will start February 25th when they face up with Alma College at home.
“We are excited to start,” Conant said. “We have all been learning a lot because there has been so much growth and development. With such a young team we will face a lot of challenges, but I also have that much more time to work with the girls and start from the ground up.”
Conant will continue to prep her girls for the upcoming season by introducing fieldwork into practices for the next couple of weeks. As a team of mostly freshman, Conant has been able to train them from their very first semester, allowing the girls to become close-knit, a trait that will help them when the competition starts.
“There is no division within our team,” Conant said. “The girls give 100 percent and do everything I ask. I could not hope for more from them.”