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‘We were just sick of losing’ – Inside the resurgence of Vanderbilt Lacrosse

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‘We were just sick of losing’ – Inside the resurgence of Vanderbilt Lacrosse

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Photo by Hunter Long

Alyssa Muir

It has been a rough past few seasons for the Vanderbilt Lacrosse squad. The team went 8-9 last year and has not finished with a winning record since 2010.

But, all of that has changed this season.

This year’s team, under new Head Coach Beth Hewitt, currently has a 10-3 record. With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Commodores have already locked up a winning season. They also have several wins over high-major schools on their resume including a 9-8 win at Louisville and 22-15 win over the University of Connecticut.

“We were just sick of losing,” said Emily Mathewson, a junior attacker, of the mindset coming into this year.

A lot of the success of this season can be attributed to the hire of Hewitt, who played in college at North Carolin and has been around the team since 2014 when she was hired as an assistant coach. She also had previous head coaching experience from her time at LeMoyne College in Syracuse where she molded the Dolphins into a Division II powerhouse.

The team has also changed conferences this season, moving from the Big East to the American Athletic Conference.

“We came in new coaching staff, new conference and we really just embraced the newness and were ready to start fresh,” said Mathewson.

Photo by Hunter Long

In addition to her vast experience as both coach and player, Hewitt has brought a new culture to this program.

“Her culture has definitely been one of a family every day,” said senior midfielder Julie Blaze. “She really holds us accountable for our own mistakes and, on the flip hand, she takes accountability of her own. She really balances the family alongside the hard work.”

Hewitt has also relied on her talented and driven upperclassmen to help her turn this program around. Players such as Mathewson and Blaze, who were part of some of the tougher previous seasons, have been pivotal in leading the team and setting a positive example.

“Because they set the bar so high, I think everybody else felt like settling was not an option,” said Hewitt. “They made working hard fun and exciting. When you see the hard work give you ten wins too, it makes it a little bit easier.”

While the upperclassmen have been spectacular, Hewitt believes that the team’s overall depth might be the biggest reason for the success of the team.

“Every given day, every practice, every game, someone different is stepping up and that’s really been the key this year for us,” said Hewitt.

This season has also resulted in a berth to American Athletic Conference Tournament, the team’s first qualification for a conference tournament since 2013.

Photo by Hunter Long

“It’s been one of my goals that I have had every year that I’ve been here,” said Blaze of the team’s berth in the tournament. “That was such a huge moment of celebration for my grade in particular.”

However, even with all the success this team has had to this point in the season, they are not satisfied.

“I want to see what we can do in postseason,” said Mathewson. “We haven’t been in a long time and I’m excited to see what’s to come.”

Hewitt added, “We want to finish strong and not just be excited that we are in.”

The Commodores have two regular season games left against Cincinnati and Temple before they begin the AAC tournament from May 2 to May 4.

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