Ready for MAC-tion

The University of Detroit Mercy’s women’s lacrosse team lost its first game of the year to the University of Michigan by a score of 23-2, but players are extremely excited about the season and the games to come.

“It is hard to say how we will do record-wise this season but, it being my last year with my senior class, I intend to have as much fun as possible,” Senior Jessica Turner said in an interview. “I want everyone on the team to work hard so that we can be as successful as possible so our graduating class can go out feeling as though they accomplished something greater than themselves.”

The team finished 2-8 in 2021, its first year as a member of the Mid-American Conference. The Titans notched back-to-back victories against Akron and Youngstown State last April before finishing the year on a six-game losing streak.

That followed a tumultuous 2020 season that was cut short due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Turner has experienced many changes during her tenure but is excited about the team’s latest additions.

“Obviously each year we get a new class of freshman, and recently we actually received two additional transfers who are great add-ons to our team,” she said.

But the biggest impact may be to the coaching staff. The team added a new assistant coach, Maddie Dugan, and a new graduate assistant, Meghan Godell.

Dugan previously served as head coach at Trine University in Indiana and helped the program increase its win totals in each of her first three years there, according to the university. She played collegiately at Adrian College in Michigan.   

Godell played for seasons for Detroit Mercy from 2017-2020 and graduated from the university with a degree in accounting.

“Each of them have already made a huge impact on the way our team operates and I am excited to see what else they have in store for us,” Turner said. “I had the pleasure of playing with Megan my freshman and sophomore year, and it is great to have her around the team again.”

Despite the player’s enthusiasm, the team may still have to deal with pandemic-related complications beyond the usual difficulties and stresses of a season.

“Right now, our biggest challenge is COVID,” Turner said. “The majority of the girls have already had it and are now immune to an extent but there is still a threat of it taking a few players out.  That is an uncontrollable obstacle. We do all we can to stay healthy, mentally and physically, but COVID is definitely still a looming challenge.”

Marina Butler, a junior, says the team has been putting in hard work to be successful.

“Practice is always enthusiastic, it’s tough being at 6:30 a.m. but we make the best of it and push each other to get better in the best ways,” she said.

Butler said the team has a good mix of young players and experienced upperclassmen.

“Our two captains, Elise Harder and Claire Conway, are veterans,” Butler said. “They have been playing a lot since their freshman year and are just very experienced on the field and just great people. We have seven new freshmen this year and they are all working hard and looking great, so I am very excited to see how they grow.”