As the regular season comes to a close, the University of Richmond women's lacrosse team has its sight set on the Atlantic 10 tournament, which will be held from April 27 to 29 in E. Claiborne Robins Stadium.
For seniors on the team, the tournament is more than a shot at the championship -- it is the final culmination of their lacrosse careers at Richmond.
Senior midfielder Mary Flowers said the team had been working especially hard to prepare for the A-10 tournament, creating plays that brought out the best in the attackers and allowed the defense to work together.
"We're focusing on trying to make each individual player stronger, which will improve our overall team play," Flowers said. "This year, we're a lot more strategic with our game plan."
Senior goaltender Tori Roebuck said targeting certain aspects of team play had helped players to realize their overall potential.
"As a team, we have been isolating and troubleshooting the areas we struggle with on the field," Roebuck said. "We try to improve them every day."
Roebuck said motivation was key in the team's preparation for the tournament, and that the coaches had used several interesting tactics to boost team morale and confidence this season.
"In one exercise, we had to carry around an egg for three days," Roebuck said. "We had to take it everywhere we went, including classes, practices, bus rides and the sidelines of games. We would legitimately get in trouble if we didn't bring our eggs with us."
Roebuck said the coaches had wanted to emphasize the importance of responsibility and feeling accountable for something other than oneself. Flowers said the coaches had tailored their motivational exercises to each player, which had been unique from what the team had seen in the past.
"Our coaches realize that everyone is motivated in different ways," Flowers said. "They have done a great job motivating each person in a way that works for that specific player."
Roebuck said the coaches also assigned weekly essay reflections in which the players were asked to describe their hopes, dreams and fears in detail.
"The essays have really helped us to look into who we are as individuals," Roebuck said.
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"We have identified what we want out of life, and I think we have become both better people and better players because of it."
When asked which opponent the team was most looking forward to playing in the tournament, both Roebuck and Flowers responded in one word: UMass.
"UMass has won the tournament every year since I was a freshman," Flowers said. "If we do play them in the tournament, I think I speak for the entire team when I say we would love nothing more than to send them home with a loss."
This long-standing rivalry came to fruition last week, when the team lost to UMass in overtime on Richmond's home turf. Roebuck said although Richmond cannot take any of the A10 teams lightly, UMass has definitely been the team's biggest competition.
"It's going to be hard for them to beat us twice," she said.
Though the team is constantly practicing and conditioning to improve its 2-1 conference record,the team has fun, too.
Flowers and Roebuck both said they had formed great friendships through the lacrosse team, and that the camaraderie would be something they missed the most after graduation.
"I've never been on a team that has as much fun as we do," Roebuck said. "It's a great feeling to love the people you are forced to be around on a daily basis. There's never a dull moment."
Contact staff writer Laura Allen at email@example.com
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