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Women’s Lacrosse Tumbles from the Golden Generation to Uncertainty

The Future of the Program is in Doubt
Former lacrosse midfielder Ella Herbig, second from left, is now a member of the CUC Dance Team.

One year ago, the “Golden Generation” of the CUC’s women’s lacrosse team hoped to win the program’s first Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference tournament, after finishing as runners-up in both 2021 and 2022. They eventually  finished the season 4-10 and did not qualify for the NACC tournament.

And by November, the team no longer had enough players on the roster, head coach Fran Scott resigned, and the women’s lacrosse team had to cancel their 2024 women’s lacrosse season.

“I initially was shocked,” said senior midfielder Jessica Parker. “I was trying to stay optimistic, but it seemed very unlikely that there would be a season with our team’s current situation.”

This was not even the first time Parker has had her senior season canceled. Her high school senior season in 2020 was also canceled because of COVID-19. 

“It is extremely tough for me knowing that I have played my last game and won’t have a senior night,” said Parker. She was already aware, however, that there was a possibility the upcoming season would be canceled due to the number of departing seniors and lack of recruits. 

A women’s lacrosse team requires at least 10 players to take the field: three attack, three midfielders, three defenders, and a goalie. According to CUC’s athletics website, there were only nine listed players on the roster for this season. Last year the team had 14 players, but eight of those players were seniors or graduate students. 

Those eight seniors and graduate students played a part in the program’s success over the previous four years with a combined record of 28 wins and 17 losses. Last year’s team included goalie Ryan McGee, who started every game for CUC since her freshman year, and forward Rylee Orenstein, who is fourth all-time in points for CUC women’s lacrosse.

On Sept. 15, Scott had sent an invitation email to all female CUC students to try-out for the team. 

“If you are athletic and have any experience in playing lacrosse, basketball, or soccer; then you are invited to come meet the team and watch their first fall-ball practice this coming Tuesday, September 19th,” Scott wrote in the email. 

Now the future of the program is up in the air, and some former players have already moved on to other athletic pursuits.  

While some players’ athletic careers may be ending, others have joined new activities. Sophomore Ella Herbig, who played as a midfielder, saw the collapse of the lacrosse program as an opportunity to return to dance after previously dancing for eight years. Since joining CUC’s team, her love for dance has returned.

“Once I started dancing, I truly started to fall in love with it again,” Herbig. “Dance has been so fun and brought joy back into my life.” She also credits the dance team for welcoming her with open arms.

Despite the cancellation of this year’s season, there is some hope and optimism for the future of women’s lacrosse at CUC.

“While it is disappointing to not have a women’s lacrosse program this spring, there are plans in the works to bring back the team in the future,” said McGee, who is now both the athletic administration graduate assistant at CUC and the women’s lacrosse graduate assistant. “We are committed to focusing on recruiting student athletes and searching for a new head coach this semester.” 

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