Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SPORTS INFORMATION Junior Ella Makin broke a program record with 19 saves against Centre College on March 25, then topped it with 21 saves against the University of the South on March 31.

Women’s lacrosse goalie Ella Makin set the tone for her junior season by breaking personal and Berry records as well as leading the team through a program rebuild, while sustaining a major hip injury dating back to her freshmen year.

Makin set the program record with 19 saves in the Vikings’ match against Centre College on March 25. She then added two more saves to up her record to 21 saves in a single game against the Sewanee Tigers on March 31. With two games left in the regular season, Makin has 138 saves overall. She’s also maintaining the highest save percentage of her three years playing, at 46.8 percent. Her motivation behind her success this season was focusing on the small improvements that would add up to her game as a whole.

“The goal was to see where I was last year and find all the nit-picky details that I can then work really hard on in practice,” Makin said.

Makin’s participation in athletics has not been a smooth ride. During her freshmen season, Makin began feeling pain in her hip, which escalated to the point of carrying herself up four flights of stairs to reach her top-level dorm in Ford. After playing through the rest of the season and receiving an MRI on her birthday, Makin found out her labrum had been torn all along, which led to surgery before her sophomore season.

“(This surgery) was the step below actually getting a hip replacement,” Makin said.

According to Makin, she focused her sophomore season on getting acclimated again to the physical stress of the game. With little resting time during both off and on-season training, Makin has not had a good resting opportunity, but while the pain continues, so does Makin’s can-do attitude.

“This is the sport I love and I’m going to do everything I can to push myself through,” Makin said.

Awarded with the captain position this season, alongside junior Olivia Iobst and senior Keiley Ayers, Makin and the team had to make changes when staff and participants fell close to nothing at the end of fall. Makin commended the hard work her teammates have put in, particularly the seven new players who started with little-to-no experience, and the connected family that resulted from this dedication.

“It was really nice knowing that the Berry community came together and recognized we needed help and they were going to try it out,” Makin said.

According to Makin, because of their hard work and extra practices, a fan watching would not be able to distinguish the new and returning players. Makin and many returners practiced with players outside of their schedule and served as resources during training to answer questions and learn together. Additionally, the team as a whole has greatly improved.

“We’ve really put in a lot more time and effort to bring everyone together this year,” Makin said. “I feel like we are a much more tight-knit team because of it.”

In her important leadership role and her unique position as a goalie, Makin has to balance the weight of seeing the entire field with keeping a cool head and not getting discouraged after goals or mistakes. But she also sees her fiery passion as a strength she contributes to the team’s energy.

“I can see the potential that this team has, and that’s another reason to push so hard,” Makin said.

According to Makin, her position as a goalie is primarily mental, which makes it challenging but useful when it comes to team strategy. Her important key to success is a short-term memory.

“If a ball goes in, I have to remind myself that I have the next one because I can’t worry about the past,” Makin said.

Makin added that she tries to impose this keep-moving-forward sentiment on her teammates as well. According to Makin, both offensive and defensive players should keep an optimistic outlook on a game, even when down a few points.

“Having this position makes me want to do the best for my team,” Makin said.

Looking forward to her senior season, Makin hopes to stay on top of both school work and lacrosse and not fall to laziness that often comes with a student’s last semester. She hopes this dedication as a senior will inspire younger players to continue to push just as hard.

Makin and the Vikings will face the Birmingham Southern Panthers for their last conference match on April 14 at 3 p.m.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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