By Sarah Mason • Of the News-Register • 

Linfield lacrosse builds back up

Through its bumps and its bruises, Linfield lacrosse is doing more than building up a competitive team.

It’s building a foundation for the sport.

The lacrosse program is in its 16th year at Linfield, and coach Sammy Smith is entering her second year. Smith played for the team for four years before graduating in 2009 from Linfield and holds four career records, including goals per game (3.19).

Smith is optimistic about the program and describes this season as a rebuilding year.

“We are working on building the morale of the team,” she said. “Because lacrosse is a fairly new sport to the west coast, many women come into college with zero lacrosse experience. The team is very welcoming and patient with each other’s skill levels.”

The team has lost each of its first five games this season, scoring no more than six goals while allowing no fewer than 15. On Sunday, the Wildcats fell to Kenyon, 18-4, after falling behind 10-3 in the first half of play. Senior attack Shelby Duarte, a team captain, scored three goals, and midfielder Halee Helgerson added the fourth.

According to Smith, the team has not dwelled on its early defeats.

“It’s mostly them that come to practice with a positive attitude and good ideas about how to come together,” Smith said. “When someone does something wrong, I try to build them up and then focus drills around the problem areas to give them the skills to succeed on the field.”

“It says a lot about a team who wins together, but is says even more about a team who loses together,” senior Nichole Thoens said. “It can be frustrating at times. No one likes to lose, but we have so much potential that it fuels our fire and almost challenges us to prove to ourselves that we can win.”

The squad has 17 women, six of whom have zero prior lacrosse experience and two of whom are Norwegian exchange students. The experience level ranges from three weeks to 15 or 16 years of lacrosse experience.

“We enjoy being on the field with each other,” Thoens said. “When we are out on the field together it feels like a family and we all look out for each other when are playing.”

There always comes a point that comes when a program starts really taking it seriously and Linfield’s time is now.”

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