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CSU women’s club lax team in desperation after dismal season

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Collegian | Brian Peña

The Colorado State women’s club lacrosse team resurfaced this season after losing their head coach and seven seniors following a disappointing last season. 

With a lack of dominance on the field and only winning four games during the 2022-23 season, despair weighed heavily on the team and prompted them to step up their play and make some changes.

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Struggling with an unstable coaching situation, lack of player connections and losing numerous senior starters, the Rams had no choice other than to start fresh and remove all the negativity.

With many roster changes and the addition of a new head coach, president and captain of the team, midfielder Camdyn Dunn said she feels optimistic heading into the season.

“We had completely different coaches, completely different people running the team, and it was kind of a mess back then,” Dunn said. “It’s getting a lot better with the seniors who are in charge now with upperclassmen and officers.” 

Dunn said she plans to run the team as a unit and create a more cohesive environment, especially after what she’s experienced in her previous seasons. However, as president of this team, she said positivity is her main goal. 

“I’m going to try and implicate as much positivity and team unity as we can,” Dunn said.

Despite the results from last season, midfielder Corrine Sage, second captain and a crucial leader for this team, said she believes the Rams have what it takes to be successful and have a winning season.

“We have a lot of new people on the team, which is great, and just a lot of fresh talent because we had, I think, seven or eight seniors graduate,” Sage said. “And we didn’t have the best season last year, and I think we just have a lot of potential to do really well this year.”

The competitive nature of the team remains strong in spite of the drama and lack of recognition the team has received. 

One part of the team that has remained secure is the goalie. Julia Devaney, the starter last season, led the league in saves with 64 and quickly became a star for the team. Devaney’s backup and veteran of the team, Alana Smith, has the most goalkeeping experience on the team and is crucial for the development of younger team members.

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“I always have an uplifting attitude and make sure my teammates don’t get too down on themselves,” Smith said. “Just make sure everyone is having a good time. This is just club lacrosse; we don’t all have to be yelling at each other and bring each other down.”

Devaney and Smith will both be competing for the starting job heading into this season of play along with Lauren Buckley, a Division I transfer goalie from Butler.

“My reason for transferring was due to a different coaching staff brought in when I was recruited and not having a coach the first couple of weeks of fall … along with no assistant coaches,” Buckley said. “I also did not get the experience that I wanted out of the program due to the school being smaller and not what I wanted for the next four years.”

The fall season serves as a mini tryout for the Rams, as the more competitive season is in the spring; therefore, the goalies will be splitting playing time in efforts to see who fits the roster best.

“It definitely makes me want to become more competitive because now I actually have a reason to be more competitive, unlike last year,” Devaney said. “But this year, it will give me a reason to try and get to that starting position and stay in that starting position and keep playing throughout the season.”

Devaney and Buckley are heading into their second year of eligibility and Smith into her third.

Buckley started in three total games last year for Butler, achieving 16 total saves with a .390 save percentage and 52 shots faced on the season. As a first-year, it was an impressive feat and quickly made Buckley the second option. Buckley was still able to get playing time — averaging 33 minutes a game — in a much more competitive environment. 

“The big thing for me was fighting for playing time as a freshman last year and making a name for myself,” Buckley said. “Coming here is more relaxed and (a) better culture. We definitely are a more competitive team, but that makes everyone a better player.”

Despite the competition being slimmed down from a Division I team to club lacrosse, Buckley doesn’t seem distracted from the importance of teamwork and unity with her new teammates.

“I don’t focus on setting myself apart from the team,” Buckley said. “My main focus (is) to work with each other and build each other up to improve our team as a whole.”

Reach Luke Hojnowski at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukehojo.

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