Women’s lacrosse scores high, men experience tough losses

Latifa Madesko, Campus Carrier staff writer

Sophomore Chris Coleman and senior Nick English go head to head during a men’s lacrosse practice this week at the Vikings’
Valhalla Stadium. Berry’s lacrosse teams face very different records as they look toward the post-season. Kristin Tucker | Campus Carrier

With a historic first-half of the season, the Berry College women’s lacrosse team has advanced to a 10-1 overall record for the first time in program history. As the anticipation of post-season grows for the women, the men’s lacrosse team is forging their own path through a tough schedule. 

The women’s team earned their second-ever win against conference opponent Birmingham Southern College last weekend, blowing out BSC at home by score of 17-7.

Despite facing several obstacles this season, the Vikings outshine their conference competition at the net, with a cumulative 181 goals scored and only 77 allowed on the season.

Three team members have also received Player of the Week titles from the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) so far this season. 

Freshman Dani Taraska and junior Haley Larsen have both received SAA Offensive Player of the Week, and sophomore Sophie Morris was named the conference’s defensive player of the week. 

Junior Abby Sprayberry has scored 32 goals so far this season, having started all 11 games. Sprayberry said her role on the field is to give her best in everything.

“Whether that is on defense, offense, or the draw, I just know that I need to play as hard as I can, to play for my team, and to set my teammates up for success,” Sprayberry said. 

Sprayberry said the family culture surrounding the team has proven to build for a successful season. 

Women’s head coach Brittni Hall said her team’s key to future success is playing together and not losing sight of the big picture.

Additionally, from a team growth perspective, Hall said the Vikings have implemented new plays and sets to elevate their performances. With the incorporation of a new defensive zone, the Vikings were able to boost and refine their knowledge of the game.

“It’s been neat watching our players continue to be learners and growers in the game, although it is a sport, they are all greatly familiar with,” Hall said.

Hall said the complexity of the new sets both offensively and defensively have taken Berry women’s lacrosse to the next level.

With only five more regular season games left, four of which are conference games, the Vikings continue to prepare for post-season. 

“We have done so well this season, and it makes me excited to see what we are capable of doing,” Sprayberry said. “I think we, as a team, are going to continue to put in hard work throughout the post season so we can come out even stronger next season.” 

Having a strong schedule this year has set the men’s team up for a few challenges along the course of the season. The team currently sits at an overall record of 4-3.

Last weekend in Kentucky, the Vikings matched up against conference opponent Centre College in an astonishing triple-overtime game, making it the longest game in school history. Despite taking a hard loss, men’s head coach Curtis Gilbert expressed pride in his team.

“Although the game was challenging and was a tough one to swallow, we showed resiliency and fought the entire game,” Gilbert said.

Senior and team captain Nick English has turned heads in the conference this season, picking up two weekly defensive awards so far.

English’s season statistics prove that he is one of the conference’s best players when it comes to getting possession of the ball for his team, winning over 60% of his face offs and earning possession of 62 ground balls. 

Gilbert said that senior Tyler Banfield and junior Michael McKenzie have both stepped up for the Vikings on offense, leading in goals scored for the team. 

Overall, the team’s chemistry and ability to keep pushing forward has been the strong suit of the season.  Gilbert said the team’s motto, with post-season coming up, is focusing on one game at a time and not getting caught up in the games to follow.

Both the men’s and women’s teams host conference opponent Hendrix College this Friday, March 24.

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