This was OUR year. With our team motto being, “Rise Up’, we came together as a team and decided that we were ending this season with a MASCAC trophy in our hands and a bid to play in the national championship, something that hasn’t happened since 2016. Meaning that not a single member of our team had ever been a MASCAC champion. We knew that it would not be easy, but we were willing to battle every practice and every game if that meant that we brought home a medal in the end.
Our season started off with losing our home opener, something that we knew we needed to come back from. Going into our second game of the season with a 0-1 chip on our shoulder, we were able to come out with a win on our home turf. Then, in our third game, we hit the road for an away game and battled yet came up just short of a win. Reflecting on our 1-2 record before jetting off to Puerto Rico we recognized some kinks that need to be worked out and the strengths of our teammates. We had faith as a team that this trip would bond us together to make a comeback and give our season the team that we needed to win the championship.
During the time we are preparing to go on our trip, there is more and more information about COVID-19 coming out. We knew that this may impact our season, yet our trip was not canceled and we still made our way to San Juan. We took every precaution that we could when traveling to ensure that our team made it safely down to Puerto Rico. Our athletic training staff had us take Airborne to boost our immune systems, as well as requiring that we use hand sanitizer and wipes if we came in contact with anything at the airport. At this point, we understood precautions had to be made in order to ensure that we were doing everything we could to fend off possible COVID-19 exposure. Yet, I don’t think any of us actually understood the true impact that this virus would place on our lives in the following week.
As we landed in San Juan the COVID-19 anxiety and shutdowns back home began spreading like wildfire. At this point, we were not sure of anything regarding the school or our season. Yet, we were on a mission to close out our week in Puerto Rico as 2-0, so we shifted our focus to lacrosse and enjoying our time with teammates. We felt like we were living in a bubble, shielding us from what was going on at home.
Monday: March 9th
First day of our trip, we are now well-rested and ready to take on the week. We practiced through the rain and humidity but at this point were thankful to even be on spring break. After practice we start seeing posts about events such as St. Patrick’s Day parades being canceled. Little did we know this was the beginning of it all.
Tuesday: March 10th
Game Day. We battle against Shenandoah and come up short with a tough loss 19-8. Later this day, West Chester announces that they are closing for the semester and going online along with a few other schools. Later in the day, Massachusetts declares a state of emergency.
Wednesday: March 11th
Second and final game of our spring break trip. Coach hints at this possibly being the last game of our season and urges us to leave it all on the field. We pull out a 10-7 win against Susquehanna. We later recieve a text from Coach telling us to meet her in the lobby of the hotel for a team meeting. We are then told that the MASCAC has suspended any athletic events until March 30th. Later on, we find out that our spring break has been extended a week and we will need to pack our bags and return home after landing in Boston. We then begin calling family members and create travel plans to get back to our hometowns on Saturday morning. During all of this, we hear from the Wheaton Lacrosse team that their season has been canceled. We begin to rely on each other as well as the other teams to lift spirits due to everyone going through the same thing as us.
Thursday: March 12th
The NCAA announces that they are canceling all winter and spring championships, leaving us hoping our conference will keep our championships still going. The N.B.A., the N.H.L., M.L.S. and Major League Baseball all cancel their seasons. This is when the bubble pops.
Friday: March 13th
MASCAC suspends play Indefinitely.
Land in Boston around 1 am, return to campus around 3 am, say possible last goodbyes, tears shed, hugs given. Deep down we knew our season/school was done but we wanted to deny that as much as we could. We then sleep for a few hours and pack as much as we think we will need for our ‘extended spring break’ and head home before the dorms officially close, not knowing how long it would be until we came back.
Announcement that we will be on-line for the rest of the semester, meaning our season is officially canceled. Leaving our locker room still untouched, our jerseys cleaned and ready to go, until next season. Leaving our top point scorer 17 assists away from becoming the all-time leader, and our starting goalie 5 saves away from 400.
The days and weeks to come After:
Held online lacrosse meetings on zoom and trying to adjust back to a routine being home and without our teammates. When moving out of our dorms we also had to clean out our locker alone. Many of us stood silently for a second reflecting on what could have been. This room was always filled with laughs and love but then it was just sad and quiet.
Although this experience was terrible and no one would want to go through it again, we have managed to find a way to make the most of it like we always do. This was extremely humbling and really opened our eyes to what it was like for something to really be ripped away from you. After about a week we stopped addressing the what ifs of this season and we have started to prepare or the “when”s of next season. Making sure we are continuing to build off of our fitness and obviously continuing our friendships with our teammates. In a way, we are lucky to be able to have so many resources at our fingertips to be able to call each other and not only speak but obviously see everyone’s beautifully bright and shining faces. Whether our seniors decide to capitalize on their extra year of eligibility or not, we will play for them and we will work tirelessly to try to bring back the MASCAC trophy next year.
We are now more driven than ever before, knowing how easily our season can be taken away from us. We are doing team challenges with running and fitness to ensure that we are coming back better, faster, and stronger mentally and physically to be able to get the MASCAC trophy next year.
Until next season, when we Rise up above this.