2016 Women’s Lacrosse Season Preview


Emily Ankabrandt, Stephanie Chadnick, Angela Kelly, and Casey Gelderman are the Women’s Lacrosse Team Captains for the 2016 season. Photo from paceuathletics.com

JAMES MIRANDA , Sports Editor

It was the inaugural season for Pace women’s lacrosse last year and it was full of strife, like most start-up programs. The entire team was freshmen and there were not enough players to fill up the whole field for scrimmages.

Girls who were the best on their high school teams had to step up and compete at a college level against programs that have existed for some years and one of the toughest Division II conferences in the nation.

The Setters ended last year 5-11 overall and placed eleventh with three wins in the Northeast-10 (NE-10) conference.

“We knew we couldn’t get pushed around because these girls were bigger and faster, so we had to be mentally and physically tough,” said Casey Gelderman, who led the team with 36 goals. “It was a challenger, but we found our place and stepped up.”

The youth is a go-to factor when assessing last season, but Head Coach Michael Spinner has his reasons. He was hired in November last year and did not have a full year for recruiting. The result of last season also showed Spinner the quintessential part of the women’s lacrosse team: a core.

“During recruiting [last year] it became clear that there was a core within that group that I felt can really play,” said Spinner, who’s in his second year with the team. “We couldn’t have had a better group of freshmen. They did everything a coaching staff could ask for, played extremely hard, went after each team, had fun, and really set the stage for a very healthy future for the program.”

The core includes most of the returning players from last year as well as team captains and midfielders Stephanie Chadnick, Emily Ankabrandt, Angela Kelly, and Gelderman.

All four starting defenders and their starting goalie are returning this season, as well as the other pieces of the team’s core.

The team expects the team to be different this year because they have the depth to compete with a 30-man roster as well as the talented roster in terms of speed and athleticism.

“One of our strong points is getting up and down the field because last year we didn’t have the depth we do now and we can keep up with the other team,” Chadnick said.

One thing Spinner is trying to do is to keep the team’s core together for as long as possible. He’d prefer to see the team continue to grow everyday than be eyeing a playoff spot.

“My expectation is [when there’s] 10 minutes left in all 17 games, we’re in it which was not the case last year,” Spinner said. “Next year’s the year I look at ‘ok, I’d like to make the playoffs.’ I want to know we’re developing the team the right way. You can’t coach experience. Essentially, our sophomore class is our senior class.”

The core is key for the team this season, but it is also the biggest challenge because a college team has not been strung together yet, according to Spinner. They mesh well, but want to have more chemistry and one way they bond is by “big pup, little pup.”

The sophomores of the team have their own freshman—the big pup and the little pup—and before games and scrimmages the sophomores will leave inspirational quotes or funny pictures in their lockers to give them confidence, smiles, or laughter.

Women’s lacrosse opens its season Sat., Feb. 27 against Dominican College.