The Oconee County High School Lady Warriors lacrosse team struggled to find the win column again after three losses last week.
The Lady Warriors won their second game against Gainesville two weeks ago and are now 2-10.
Most of the Lady Warriors are new to the sport of lacrosse. According to head coach Faith Hoyt, 12 of 21 players are brand new, and only seven of the team’s 10 upperclassmen have experience.
“I think have two or three returning girls that have played defense before,” Hoyt said. “We're pretty young on the defensive end, and so we’re having them learn how to communicate a little bit better and how to talk. Our goalie is also brand new. She has never played lacrosse before, and she even came two or three weeks into the season.”
Two of the biggest struggles for the Lady Warriors have been experience and team depth.
The team graduated several seniors last year, and Hoyt had to recruit from her classes after tryouts to have a full team. Hoyt was able to get six players from one geometry class, and then they recruited two more friends, including sophomore goalie Annabelle Thorpe.
The Lady Warriors are only in the third year of program history, and this is the first year they have had a varsity team. For the past two years, everyone played junior varsity, but now they are playing up a level.
“My girls that have been the top of the top are having to work a little bit harder to meet those skill levels,” Hoyt said. “The ones that are just learning, we're having to throw them into the wolves a lot faster. Typically, you would have them on a JV team where they would develop their skills, but we don't have that luxury and so we're having to jump.”
Wins have been tough to come by for the Lady Warriors, but Hoyt has challenged her team to meet smaller goals constantly through the season. This past Friday, Hoyt asked her team to hold the Walker School under 20 points. The Walker School was averaging over 20 goals per game, and the Lady Warriors held the score to 19-5.
Hoyt thinks of this year as a rebuilding year. Her younger players are figuring out the system and her older players are working harder than ever before.
“We've had to kind of take that step back and we really, really have to work hard to earn a win,” Hoyt said. “We did some things in the game against Gainesville. We were more evenly matched, so we were able to work the ball around a little bit more and do some things that we've been working on in practice that we haven't necessarily been able to do with the pressure that we've been seeing from the other teams.”
Hoyt has also challenged her players to take ownership of their team. She wants to guide them to reach attainable goals in the remainder of their season. The Lady Warriors have six more scheduled games, and Hoyt would like at least one more win.
It will be tough to win another game, but Hoyt would also like to see measurable changes. The Lady Warriors have averaged 5-6 goals per game on offense, and Hoyt would like that to double.
Hoyt has coached basketball and lacrosse for 12 years and has dealt with losing season before. She says in the bigger picture, it’s a great year for the team. Her team is focused on what’s attainable this year, but also growing into a better team for next season.
The Lady Warriors traveled to Evans to face Lakeside this past Wednesday after press time. They have spring break next week but will return to face Westminster in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 13.