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CSU women’s lacrosse faces off against stereotypes

Maura+Mequi+jumps+for+the+ball+during+a+Colorado+State+University+womens+lacrosse+club+team+practice+March+6.
Collegian | Ava Puglisi
Maura Mequi jumps for the ball during a Colorado State University women’s lacrosse club team practice March 6.

Whether it was anger management for Regina George at the end of “Mean Girls” or the catalyst in the TV show “Teen Wolf” for Scott McCall’s transformation into a werewolf, in media, lacrosse has always attracted the preppy, violent type.

However, as the Colorado State women’s lacrosse club team shows, the sport that lies beneath isn’t as fantastical. As players compete against stereotypes, the true intentions of the sport shine through.

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“A big stereotype that can be associated with lacrosse is the age-old tale of wealthy upbringing and (players) not being the nicest of people,” assistant coach Mike Reed said. “Obviously, in any sport, you’re going to find people who are not the nicest, but through my personal experiences in this team itself, I’ve had the privilege of coming across such wonderful people.”

Inviting might not be the first word that comes to mind when watching a sport full of body checking and intense faceoffs.

However, lacrosse’s demanding atmosphere has fruitful rewards not just on the field but also in the real world, Reed said.

“We focus on teamwork and camaraderie,” Reed said. “We’re building relationships that are going to last a lifetime as well as that sense of hard work and dedication. Everyone’s here for one common goal at the end of the day: You want to be successful, and you want to win.”

“We definitely have created an environment where it’s very welcoming. (The seniors) are trying to leave the team better than when we started. It’s definitely going to be a big change, but I think it’s going to be a change for the good.” –Iza Brencis, women’s lacrosse travel and safety officer

Relationships in lacrosse require trust and a genuinely competitive nature between players — something CSU women’s lacrosse showcases in their team environment.

Connections between the first-years and seniors made it hard to tell who just joined this year and who has been on the team for as long as four years.

“The age gap hasn’t really meant much at all,” first-year Leighla Riemma said. “In high school, it makes such a big difference. You can totally tell who is a freshman versus who is a senior, but in college, it’s a lot harder to tell.”

The age gap becoming less noticeable is an integral part of their team environment and stems from those in officer positions.

Graduating senior Iza Brencis, the team’s travel and safety officer, said she wants her impact to last. Part of that is prompting an environment that embraces those who wish to try.

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“We definitely have created an environment where it’s very welcoming,” Brencis said. “(The seniors) are trying to leave the team better than when we started. It’s definitely going to be a big change, but I think it’s going to be a change for the good.”

Six seniors are set to graduate at the end of spring 2024, so many things hang in the balance, but one thing is for sure: the withstanding harmony between players.

Those friendships must make what’s coming easier, as current officers have started training the up-and-coming first-years for the soon-to-be-open officer positions. 

Riemma is excited at the prospect of improving on the stable foundation being left behind.

“I’m really looking forward to building the team,” Riemma said. “We’ve got a really good team dynamic off the field. I’m hoping to build it up on the field and get our chemistry down.”

Unity between players is a subtle yet crucial part of any sport. For CSU women’s lacrosse, as they continue collaborating in the coming season, it is critical to succeed in the ups and downs of their last playing period.

“Next year is going to be our year,” Brencis said. “We’ve come from a rough few seasons. This season, we have good things coming, and it’s only going to go up from here.”

Reach Liv Sewell at sports@collegian.com or on twitter @liv_sewell22

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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