The Oglethorpe women's lacrosse team embarks on its inaugural season starting this evening against LaGrange at 5:30 p.m. on the new Oglethorpe Track and Field.
Head coach Lee Ann Tutchton is ready for the season to begin. "We're very excited for the season to start. We're grateful to LaGrange for agreeing to play us in our inaugural game and we look forward to seeing everybody down at our new turf field."
The new team consists of two seniors and one junior, but the rest of the squad is made up entirely of underclassmen, potentially setting a strong foundation for the future. The midfield line consists of freshmen Sydney Sparks, Michelle Vasques and Tate Davis.
They'll provide the foundation for the young Petrels squad to be able to control the ball, which is a point of emphasis for Coach Tutchton. "The main focus for our team this year will be possession of the ball," she said. "If we have it, we want to maintain it, and if we don't, we want to get it back."
Along those lines, the team's defensive rotation will include senior Katie Weeks, sophomore Carissa Thomas, and freshmen Taylor Roberson and Francesca Garcia. Freshman goalie Hayley Flanagan will bolster the back line and further the effort to stop the opponent from scoring and get the ball back for the Petrels.
The team will be a part of a six-team SAA this year, with Rhodes and Hendrix joining the league next year. Sewanee and Berry are expected to be the class of the league, but Tutchton thinks the Lady Petrels should be competitive within the conference.
"Our goal within the conference is to accentuate our strengths with our emphasis on possession. If we do that, we should be competitive in the league," she said.
The non-conference schedule highlights teams from a variety of sections of the country. "I'm excited about our non-conference schedule," says Tutchton. "We'll get good national exposure with the teams we're playing and most of them are young, just like we are." The team will face off against LaGrange, Piedmont, Aurora, Transylvania, Huntingdon, Pomona-Pitzer, Agnes Scott and Dallas.
The team is setting lofty but attainable goals for themselves going into its inaugural season. "First of all, our most concrete goal is to lead the league in GPA," says Tutchton. "Outside of that, we just want to improve game-by-game and have each of our players improve themselves throughout the season."
It should be interesting to watch Oglethorpe's newest team build their way through their inaugural season.