As opening day on March 1 creeps closer and closer for Ramapo women's lacrosse, head coach Jane Koeniges has only one thing on her mind: "stepping up the intensity."
The Roadrunners ended last season with a final record of 6-11, going 5-4 in the Skyline Conference and 1-4 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. This year, the team will no longer be splitting their season between two different conferences, but will be competing solely in the NJAC, which will finally be having its first ever women's lacrosse post-season tournament. Coming into her second season as the coach of the Roadrunners, Koeniges is ready to turn last year's record into a winning one.
"Last year I didn't really know what to expect, but this year is different," said Koeniges. "I'm excited to get started."
Though the team's preseason has just begun, the improvements from last year's squad to this year's are already becoming apparent, especially in the younger players. After losing some key seniors after graduation last year, Koeniges recruiting has proved successful, bringing in fresh players who are bound to make names for themselves in their first season at Ramapo.
Rookies Katie Duca, Monica Torres and Charlotte Councill are three freshmen that Koeniges believes will be key to the success of the team. These girls aren't the only ones showing promise; the team as a whole has shown "amazing effort and improvement" in the preliminary stages of their season.
The biggest factor that has Koeniges' confidence flying high is her girls' show of massively improved stick skills. The outcome of a game can come down to the smallest technicality, but after seeing the level the players have reached, this team isn't worried about any silly mistakes costing them a win.
Lack of talent may not be a worry for Koeniges, but lack of players is something that is keeping this coach on her toes. With a total of 14 girls on the squad, this extremely small team just makes the cut for the necessary amount of players for competition. The less players a team has, the harder it is to focus on certain areas of the game, like practicing certain plays, scrimmaging and positioning.
This puts the Roadrunners at a disadvantage compared to other teams in their league with the normal roster of 20 or so players. Another worry added on due to lack of girls is injuries. Losing one or two key players could bring serious complications in the team's plan for success.
Even in the midst of these potential problems, Koeniges has complete faith in her current players to handle this difficult situation.
"I'm not really worried," said Koeniges. "They're a tough group, I know they'll be able to handle it."
Overall, this year's team looks like it is well on its way to a great season. Koeniges's belief in the ability of her players is only matched by her desire to start off the season with a win.
"We have great talent, great leadership, and great girls. This is going to be a really fun season."