The Florida Southern College women’s lacrosse team will look to overcome a lack of experience to achieve success in their inaugural season of Division II competition.
With a team that has 22 freshmen on its roster, the role that the captains play will be vital to the success of the team, according to head coach Kara Reber.
“The captains are very important and I tell them that every day. What they do, how they act, and what they let the team get away with is really what will make this season,” Reber said.
The leadership Reber speaks of will come mostly from captains Katie Gladhill and Mara Mason. Gladhill is a transfer from High Point University, a Division I program, and Mason is a two-time national champion from Monroe Community College, a junior-college powerhouse.
Mason will be reunited with her former MCC teammate, Danielle LaDuca, who just arrived at FSC this spring. Reber believes the experience and success the two have had will be a huge asset to the abundance of freshmen on the roster.
“They are competitive to begin with. They don’t like to lose and they want to beat the top teams in Division II. They have played in the big games before so they can mentor the freshman with that and they also know what it takes to get there,” Reber said.
Despite the freshman-loaded roster, Reber believes the Lady Mocs have much more talent than would be expected from a first-year program.
“As far as talent, we are ahead of a typical first-year team. We played another first-year team in the fall and we won hands-down. I don’t know exactly where we fit in Division II with our talent level but I would say we are at least where a third-year team would be right now,” Reber said.
According to Reber, she is not the only coach that recognizes the potential of her team.
“I was kind of hoping to surprise some coaches with what our team would be, but apparently word has gotten out that we are pretty good. I thought maybe some people would come down to Florida on their spring break trip and just think they will have an easy game with first-year Florida Southern while they are down here but I don’t think we are going to catch anyone off-guard now,” Reber said.
Although they are very talented for a first-year program, Reber knows the Lady Mocs still have to work extremely hard to become a national contender. The competitive nature of this team should help them to avoid complacency.
“It may take some time to get there, but we have a core group that is very competitive and I know they will push each other to be the best team we can be,” Reber said.
The Lady Mocs will finally find out how they stack up against Division II competition on Feb. 19, when they travel to Saint Charles, Mo. to play Lindenwood University.