By Kennedy Werner
Walled Lake’s Lady Gladiators lacrosse team, which draws its members from WLC, WLN, and WLW, is “all in” this season. They are ready to give the competition all they’ve got, strengthen internally, and WIN. With their first game March 31 against Northville, the JV and varsity teams are focused on improvement and energy.
“We lost a lot of players going into this year, and we have a lot of new faces on varsity. Our goal is to play as best as we can and hopefully we can pull out a win,” said varsity junior Arrie Timmer.
Last season, the girls were determined to learn placements among the group and fundamentals of the sport. This year, the girls are experienced and prepared to make a name for themselves in the league. With new and returning coaches and players, the Lady Gladiators are focusing on unison before they meet Northville.
“Last year, I was so proud of the teams for taking the next step and developing the heart to compete with some of the top teams in the state and in the KLAA,” said returning Head Coach Rob Schmansky, “This year, our focus is on taking that love of lacrosse, and being unapologetic about our commitment to our sport and to our teammates.”
With a large coaching staff (3 and 4 coaches per team), athletes are able to work individually with coaches to improve their skills. By working in these smaller groups, practices are more efficient, engaging, and energetic. Each coach has had a considerable amount of playing and coaching experience with lacrosse before Lady Gladiators too.
“The new coaches are really helping us because every player receives more individual attention. I love our new coaches! They are all super helpful and knowledge about the sport, and they help bring a fresh new vibe to the team,” said Timmer.
Currently, general practices have been held inside (due to weather); however, coaches are eager to take the athletes out on the field before the March 31 game. An interesting addition to practices is Timmer’s yoga warm-downs. She leads sessions after practice for interested players.
“Yoga helps stretch out the muscles that tense up, and it helps prevent a lot of the injury that otherwise would cripple the team. It also helps create focus and community within the team,” said Timmer.
The Gladiators are always accepting new players. No experience is necessary. Players only need a mouth guard and cleats, while the team provides sticks and goggles.
“Some of my hopes and goals for the season are to improve my skills, score a lot of goals, and make new friends. This year will be a lot of fun,” said varsity junior Alyssa Willis.