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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

Three-game streak gives lacrosse hope for late-season comeback

Maya Nair | Staff Photographer
Players said the confidence gained from their last three wins has brought on a different energy at practice, where they are focused on building momentum to continue their win streak.

After stringing together a three-game winning streak with less than a month left before the Atlantic 10 tournament, lacrosse is hoping to build momentum and close out the season by adding to their win column.

The Colonials (3-9) kicked off the season with a disappointing start, losing five-consecutive games, but a steady improvement to cutters and slide packages has sharpened their offensive play. Players said the confidence gained from their last three wins has brought on a different energy at practice, where they are focused on building momentum to continue their win streak.

Graduate student midfielder Kerry McKeever said one of the biggest challenges the team has faced is adapting their play style and building team chemistry after 13 new freshmen and graduate student players joined this season.

“The freshmen came in and are definitely some of our impact players, so it was great to see,” McKeever said. “The best teams are the ones that are powerful from the bottom up.” 

McKeever said the coaching staff played a very supportive role this season to help build confidence during the team’s early season low points. She said the coaching staff emphasized the team’s strengths and pushed them to bring as much energy as possible to practice.

“A lot of the things we needed to improve on were mistakes that we were killing ourselves with, and a few of our losses were speeding ourselves,” McKeever said. “I think just changing a lot of little mechanical errors has made a really big difference.”

McKeever has played a crucial role in the team this year, recording 33 goals, with a .485 shooting percentage and three assists in her first season with the Colonials. In a game against Delaware State University March 29, she scored a total of six goals, just one goal shy of tying the program record for most goals scored in a single game, which was set in 2004 by Laura Hostetler who scored seven goals against Mount St. Mary’s University.

She said the team is not looking ahead to the A-10 tournament but is focused on winning their four next games to ensure they are in the best-possible form for the tournament.

Freshman midfielder Stella Ray said it has been a different process getting used to GW’s coaching staff and Division I play, but she came in with an open mind and is looking to build team chemistry. She said the team’s lifelong relationships are comforting and are helping them improve in the late season by learning how to work together to increase offensive maneuvers like assists.

“They definitely lead by example, which I think helped me grow into the player I’m becoming,” Ray said about senior players.

Ray said the team is working to establish more consistent play and build confidence to extend their win streak. She said for the A-10 tournament, the team is going to pay attention to the details in scouting reports to mentally prepare themselves for the challenge.

“Our covenant pieces have been much better, I think we all kind of have found that little spark we needed,” Ray said. “After winning that first game, I think we all knew what we were capable of. We can do that again if we just keep bringing that energy in fights.”

Head Coach Colleen McCaffrey said the team needs to improve their offense with faster ball movement and by increasing their scoring threats. Defensively, she said the team needs to focus on stopping opponents from playing where they want and focusing on off-ball plays. She said another huge focus has been draw controls or taking possession after the first possession draw, which allow the team to improve the winning possession of the ball.

“Obviously, we had a whole new coaching staff like they said, so any news is going to be a challenge in terms of adapting to our style and our coaching style and what we’re asking the team to do,” McCaffrey said. “We were trying to raise the standard of excellence and pushing the team to a new level.”

McCaffrey said the losses at the start of the year helped them find playstyles the players needed to focus on and improve, which helped the team lock down cutters and improve slide packages. She said players have begun to step up to contribute to the overall group play by tapping into different attack personnel and increasing their points through a full team effort.

“Kerry and Stella have both been dominant on the draw circle, without them and really their athleticism, we would not be where we are today,” McCaffrey said. “Stella is only a freshman but a true leader on the team and a great force to be reckoned with. Kerrie is no-nonsense, she gets things done and has been a great addition to the team.”

McCaffrey said she attributed the team’s improved performance in the past three games to the team’s growing confidence that allows them to play freely and no longer need to rely on sets and systems. She said the team now plays at a higher speed where they can share the ball to increase assisted goals.

She said the team has risen to the challenge and has learned to be uncomfortable with their training to reach their goals and the standard of excellence the new coaching staff wanted to implement. She said the team looks to continue building off the basics to continue to improve game by game.

“We are going one game at a time,” McCaffrey said. “I think that has been beneficial for us because we cannot look too far ahead until we take care of business one game at a time.”

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