2018 ACWL Spring Banquet — 3 Players, 3 Perspectives

Spring Trip, Newport Beach, CA, 2018

During this year’s banquet, we had a number of student-athlete speakers. Here are three unique perspectives from this year’s team — all different classes, different experiences. Enjoy and GO BRITS!

Hello everyone! My name is Kierstin Rose and I was a freshman during this amazing 2017-2018 lacrosse season. I wanted to give all of you insight on some of the biggest lessons I learned this year.

First things first, I learned that I could actually use my left hand which which was a huge development for me. But the biggest and most important lesson I learned is that this team is a family. Coming to Albion was a completely new experience, I was on my own for the first time and had no idea what to do next. Luckily, the captains had already planned a team dinner in the Keller.

Now I know at the beginning I was nowhere near being the most talkative person, let’s be real it took me weeks to tell you guys I prefer to be called Krose, but times like those are the ones I am most thankful for. The times where we were together and the people around us knew the women’s lacrosse team was near, like at the Hall of Fame dinner…the trips, bus rides, and movies that I had never seen before but now have strong opinions about…added greatly to my understanding of what it means to be a part of a team that genuinely cares about one another. Being with this team has made me realize that this season was so much more than I expected it to be. I drastically underestimated how much I would learn and from whom. I can honestly tell you that I have learned something from every single person on this team including Eddie and Jenna.

This entire college experience has changed the person I am and will continue to change me throughout my years here at Albion with the help of this team. For instance — speaking in our team meetings has showed me that my voice has value, which has made me better in classroom discussions because I’m no longer hesitant to speak. Being pushed in practice has showed me that I am more mentally tough than I give myself credit for; if we can run those 100s, honestly, there’s nothing that can stop us. And above all else, if I ever feel like I am alone or have something I’m going through there will always be open ears waiting for me. I cannot put into words how appreciative I am for each and everyone of you.

In the years to come, I strive to develop some of the leadership qualities that our new alumni possess. Thank you former seniors for constantly being an amazing embodiment of what it means to be a Brit. Thank you coaches for being fantastic teachers and like my second moms. Thank you coach Mehl for making me stronger. Thank you Lee family for everything you’ve done for this team. Thank you Eddie for keeping me healthy. Thank you parents for all that you do and for giving me my amazing teammates.

I could not have asked for a better first year experience. Thank you.

#9 Kierstin Rose, Freshman Attack, Indianapolis, IN

Brits.

We were born in January. This new ACWL, this new team with all of these new people. We were cold, saw snow for the first time, and woke up early to start working towards something we couldn’t quite see yet.

We learned to ride a bike with training wheels in February. We had our first two games (NMU and Hanover) where we put some of our new tools to use. But, we had a lot of growing up to do.

We experienced the confusing times of “puberty” in March. We went to California, practiced with the mountains on the horizon and our team changed. It wasn’t the silent-cage-fighting, it wasn’t Drop the Mic, it wasn’t the beach or the much needed sunshine, it wasn’t watching whales, it wasn’t the new pregame songs, it wasn’t In-and Out (although that changed my life). It was that game. Redlands. According to the scoreboard, yes, we lost. But we gained so much more. We realized this in the locker room and nothing has ever felt so good yet looked so bad (aka we are ALL ugly criers). Coming back to Michigan we faced another mountain. We had to be honest with our coaches, teammates and with ourselves. We faced the truth together. We realized this opportunity was a gift not a right. We became grateful. Grateful for this program, our history, our seniors, and our teammates.

We took off our training wheels and rode our 45-person bike in April.

In May, that life has passed but we live on. Some of us graduated, moving on to the next chapter. And the rest of us sit eagerly for our next life together.

There were a lot of uncontrollables this season. Injuries, the weather at Adrian, the weather at Olivet, and I could go on, especially about the weather. But we learned these are called uncontrollables for a reason and, of course, that it was always “70 and sunny” for a Brit. I learned as long as your team has your back and you have theirs, no matter what happens, no matter how long your jersey sits on the hanger, no matter how little time you have, no matter what you have to sacrifice, no matter what you go through — you will always have ACWL.

This season was so special for me because this team is so special to me. So, thank you.

#11 Marah Ranger, Sophomore Attack, Kalamazoo, MI

As I packed my bag last weekend, I couldn’t help but feel a little distraught thinking about how I felt our team should have been practicing for the next championship instead of packing up our locker room.

My sister shouted from the bathroom a quote on wall that reads “Your biggest competition is yourself.” She said this in a super goofy voice, in an attempt to make me laugh. I flashed back to my freshman year remembering the first time I read that and smiled being my pumped lil freshman self, excited to be on the Albion women’s lax team.

As I packed my bag, I reminisced on my four years at Albion. I said to my sister — isn’t that crazy I’ve been here in this locker room for four years? It’s seen me at my best and my worst times. It’s seen me as a young sassy freshman who probably annoyed the hell out of coach for never listening and not playing up to my full potential.

It’s seen me as an even sassier sophomore who was abruptly changed from attack to defense one day because coach had had enough. It has seen me as a young leader who needed to step into a position I felt I wasn’t yet fit for. And it’s seen me as a sassy yet mature senior who has become so incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity.

As I packed my bag, I not only packed the practice clothes, 20 hair ties I borrowed from people for the dragon braid, and cleats, of course. I also packed the intangible things, like invaluable leadership skills, work ethic, strategic thinking and an improved sense of character, all thanks to my coaches and to my teammates.

Coach Shanta and Coach Em, you both are such incredible role models to me as you recognize potential, set the standards high and won’t hold us to anything less.

To my teammates, one of our goals was to become a team of leaders and I feel confident standing here saying that there is a room full of leaders in front of me. I am confident in saying we are not the same team we were this January. We have worked hard to develop into strong, considerate leaders — that has been reflected on and off the field. We couldn’t have done that without executing our roles to the fullest and beyond, and for holding each other accountable to do so.

As we pack our bags some will move on to the next chapter of their lives and get jobs and miss the “ole albion days”, while others pack their bags to enjoy the summer and look forward to their next or last year at Albion.

Regardless of what comes next, I am so thankful this amazing group of young women was able to share the experience of this season and Albion women’s lacrosse will always hold a special place in all of our hearts.

As we pack and unpack our bags for whatever we are up to next, something that we will always take with us are the memories made, the laughs we shared, the tears we cried, our unforgettable coaches, and these bonds that will never be broken.

A huge thank you for all those who make this possible…coaches, teammates, Melissa, Leah, Coach Mehl, Bobby…

#10 Lauren Wiegand, Senior Midfield, Brighton, MI

MIAA Tournament, 2018

‘Freshman year has been a life-changing experience…’

My last blog post of the 2015 season! So much has changed since spring break, but the friendships we all made are still here, stronger than ever. For the banquet each class had to prepare a speech, which I volunteered to give. The night before the banquet, all of the freshmen gathered in the first floor lounge of Wesley Hall and tried to put into words how the year went for us. What was expected to be a twenty-minute conversation quickly turned into an hour because no one could decide what they wanted to say. It was hard to express how we all felt in the two-minute time slot that coach gave us, which by the way didn’t really exist but we still freaked out about it anyway. Here is the speech we came up with:

As a freshman, it’s very hard coming on to a new team when you don’t know what to expect. But this program, and everyone that defines it, have made us feel more than comfortable and welcome — they have made us their family. For Wiegs (#10 Lauren Wiegand), ‘got your back’ is so awesome knowing that no matter what is going on some will always be there for her. For Freddy (#22 Makenzie Frederickson), being a part of this team has made her freshman year a phenomenal experience. Shannon (#14 Shannon Kahl) was nervous going in but now has 16 sisters who always have her back. Tay (#7 Taylor Nelson…who hails from CA) wants to thank the parents who have all unknowingly adopted her. Albion is her home away from home. Cait (#6 Cait Gaitley) has never felt more accepted by a team and is so proud to call you all her family. Sabrina (#26 Sabrina Silvestri) feels the true meaning of ‘got your back’ and quote, “Which is a new experience for me.” And last but certainly not least Molly (#23 Molly Hubbell) says I love this dysfunctional family and quote, “always has your back my dudes.”

We’d like to thank the Seniors for all the support and guidance they have given us. We will miss them! As well as the Sophomores and Juniors for looking out for a us all year. Thank you coaches for helping us grow not just as lacrosse players but also as better, more driven people. Thank you families for supporting us in this new journey where we will surely come out stronger, more determined, and wiser than we have ever been. We’d like to thank everyone for an amazing first year. We are so excited to see where the next three years will take us but are sure with all these amazing people supporting us and having our backs we will continue to be the best we can possibly be.

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ACWL 2015 at our annual team banquet, championship trophy in hand

Freshman year has been such a life-changing experience. After our NCAA tournament game last Sunday, I came home and was greeted by some old friends who have known me my whole life. They told me how they can tell I changed a lot, and to be honest, I feel it too. This year has made me more responsible, more motivated, and more driven then I can ever remember being before. A great deal of this progress is thanks to being a part of this team.

I’ve learned so much this year and not just from taking notes when V (starting goalkeeper Victoria Della Pia) is in the net! When you step out onto the field as a freshman it’s true you don’t know what to expect, but through all the ups and downs, good times and bad, you’re sure to end up on top with your team right beside you. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this team and this program have made me into a better person, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring. So thank you all, and have a good summer! GO BRITS!

~ Natalie Krauss, #00

Captains’ Fall Wrap Up!

Over the last two weeks, we have shared our ACWL Team Standards for Success with our Twitter followers (check them out at #ACWLSuccess). These standards were written by captains and coaches, outlining the fundamental beliefs of our team. Although we try to play by every one of these standards, I believe that the 2014 spring season is best represented by two.

“We realize that activity does not always mean achievement, so we are constantly focused on improving.”

Throughout last season, focus on improvement was not limited to games; it was a focus during every practice, meeting and film session. Although, when it did come to games, improvement did not have as much to do with wins or losses as it did with playing our best, most competitive game.

“We respect and commit to the hard work it takes to be great.”

Trying to improve every practice last season proved to be a difficult task. There were days that we took a few steps back, but regardless of how frustrated we might have been, everyone was always committed to working hard. We often held each other accountable, pushing one another everyday, whether it be during speed workouts, passing competitions or defensive drills. All of these things ultimately contributed to our success in the 2014 season.

As we move into 2015, these specific standards cannot be overlooked. If anything, I think they have become more important, and will be more difficult than ever to accomplish. But, as we welcome many new teammates, I have another standard on my mind.

“Confidence starts with faith in yourself.”

I believe that because we are a young team, with only 3 seniors, this standard will play a crucial role in our 2015 success. I look forward to competing in my senior season, and could not ask for better teammates or coaches to do it with.

– Mackenzie Novak #2, Senior Attack

Julie volunteers with Mckenzie and Kit at the SAAC Carnival.

Julie volunteers with Mckenzie and Kit at the 2014 SAAC Carnival.

During the 2014 fall semester we spent a lot of time giving back to the Albion community and connecting with the other students on campus.

Back in October, our team hosted our annual Late Night Lax Pancakes! This has become one of our favorite team fundraisers. Not only do we raise money to support our team, we spend a lot of the evening bonding together. The weeks leading up the event are spent hanging up flyers, selling wristbands and encouraging our peers to come enjoy some unlimited pancakes. The event includes a student DJ, a performance by Albion’s very own Euphonics acapella group, and some additional entertainment put on by the team.

This October, we were able to bring in more students than the previous year! It was exciting to know our pancake night was a hit and brought in some extra funds to the team. Although fundraising is awesome, I think the team would agree that the bonding part of the event is the best the part. From having a private dance party prior to our guests arrival to eating broken pancakes, we could not stop laughing the entire time.

As a team, we find it very important to maintain a well-rounded and balanced reputation on campus. We enjoy attending other athletic competitions, musical events and supporting our friends on campus. Being a part of this team is special for that exact reason. The support we have for each other, as well as others on campus, is very unique. There are so many positive personalities on this team. I am truly looking forward to what everyone will bring to the table during the Spring semester. Happy Holidays!

– Julie Wood #8, Junior Attack

Kadie does her best to dunk Coach Decola of Albion Men's Lacrosse.

Kadie dunks Jake Decola, head coach of Albion College Men’s Lacrosse.

As a new SAAC member this year I was able to get more involved in planning community events…

We took part in Adopt a Family, which provides holiday gifts for families who are not able to afford any gifts this year. With just a couple of dollars from each of the girls on the team, we were able to provide Christmas gifts for a single mother and her three children. It is so rewarding to know that we are changing someone’s life during such a special time of year.

Right before everyone left for the holidays, we also took part in the annual SAAC carnival; this is when kids (420 to be exact) from the Albion community come to our field house and play carnival games, all run by student-athletes. In the weeks leading up to the carnival, we raised money to get coaches put into the dunk tank. Unfortunately, we were unable to dunk our coach due to the minimum height requirement (true story), but we were still able to help provide the children with an amazing experience, and also raise money for future SAAC events.

It feels great to give back to the community and we will continue to give back during our upcoming season.

– Kadie Koolwick #11, Junior Midfield

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from your 2015 captains as well as the entire ACWL team!

Get to know our 2014-15 team captains!

This team has become a family in the last couple of years and I am so happy to be adding more people to it this year. As a team we can have a good laugh while still being focused on the goals we want to accomplish. As a captain, I hope to set a good example for the incoming freshman on and off the field, as well as all the returning players. I want this upcoming season to be successful and help everyone push to be the best they can be. I am excited to see how far we can go this year; each year we have grown so much and we should not expect anything less from this upcoming year.

-Kadie #11

kadie1Kadie Koolwick, a junior midfielder, is a pre-dental, biology major and psychology minor. She finished the 2014 season as the team’s all-time leader in draw controls, averaging 86 draw controls per season. In 2013, Kadie was selected to the All-MIAA second team.

 

 


 

As most of you know, this will be my fourth season of lacrosse at Albion. In the past three seasons we have become more competitive, fought through impossible practices, blown expectations away, and become a family. I could not be more excited to welcome our freshmen into such an amazing experience. Additionally, I am so grateful to have Kadie and Julie as my new co-captains. I know the leadership we will see in them will be outstanding, as they have become amazing role models for everyone on the team, including myself. Most of all, thinking about this season, I look forward to raising expectations, and playing every game more competitively than the last.

– Mack #2

mack1Mackenzie Novak, a senior attacker, is a double major in finance and business & organizations, and a part of the Gerstacker Institute. Mackenzie is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Alpha Xi Delta. She finished the 2014 season as the team’s all-time assist leader, and a first team All-MIAA selection.

 

 


 

As a rising junior, I am thrilled to be named one of the three captains for the 2015 season. Having met Mackenzie back in high school at a lacrosse camp and having Kadie by my side as incoming freshmen in 2012, I have built strong relationships with both girls. I can already tell our dynamic is going to work really well, and I believe each of us will bring something different to the team. Going from a team of 15 to around 25 will be very exciting. I am really looking forward to meeting our newest teammates and being a leader who is there to help them transition into college, while playing lacrosse. I hope to show them that although it can be challenging, being a student-athlete is definitely worth the experience. I can’t wait to start playing, working out and being with all of my girls again come September. Being recognized as a captain for Albion’s Women’s Lacrosse team is a huge honor; the 2015 season will be quite the journey and a season I will never forget.

– Julie #8

julie1Julie Wood, a junior attacker, is working towards a double major in business & organizations and communications. Julie is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Gerstacker Institute, and Alpha Chi Omega. In 2014, she was selected to the All-MIAA second team.

Hey readers!

Last weekend, the Brits held a fall lacrosse clinic for high school girls. It was our first big activity as a team for the 2013-2014 season. We were fortunate enough to have great weather on Saturday, so great I even received a nice little sunburn on my face. Although coach supplied sunscreen, I was too busy enjoying myself to notice my face getting fried. We had a great turn out for our first clinic. Each time we hold a clinic I am impressed by the excitement on the field from the campers and my teammates. I worked with a group of juniors and seniors throughout the day, with my teammate Kadie. We both had a great time coaching, as well as getting a few laughs in with the girls. Not only were we helping the campers, we were able to get in some extra reps and review the fundamentals of lacrosse. Towards the end of the clinic we ran mini 5 v 5 games. The girls looked as if they were having a great time playing lacrosse. What more could you ask for besides hard work, and a good time?

The anticipation during the week prior to the clinic was killer. I am always so excited to meet other girls who love to play the game as much as I do.  Make sure to keep an eye out for our next clinic in early 2014! Along with meeting new girls, I had the opportunity to bond with my teammates during the clinic. I can tell this year is going to be another great season, with my family. As we finish out this week of practice tonight, we our preparing ourselves for tomorrow. We head out to Grand Valley State University to play in our “Fall Ball Play Day.” I am excited, a bit nervous, but cannot wait to be on the field again with my team in an actual game scenario. If you are looking for something to do with your Saturday, head out to Allendale to cheer on your favorite Brits! If not, stay tuned to hear about our first play day of the season.

Have a great weekend, talk to you soon!

Jules

Happy Spring Brit Fans!

2013 ACWL

The spring season is already in motion, can you believe it?! After months of practice the lady Brits are finally seeing their hard work pay off. Each game has brought on new challenges and opportunities to work together as a team. Together we’ve learned the importance of what it means to be a team. We have actually become a family on and off the field. I really enjoy the awesome connection our team has made. Having a team that enjoys being with one another makes the connections on the field even stronger. Although being a family is great, we have gradually learned the importance of staying focused and working hard everyday. Some days may take extra effort to give it our all, but we are always sure to motivate each other positively.

That’s what I love about my team. We push ourselves, as well as each other, but we keep it positive when doing so. With the season reaching an end, the team has begun to take to heart how important it is to give it your all. Every day is a new day to better ourselves. Each girl on the team has improved in their own way that has helped the team as a whole. Although the season is reaching an end, I know the lady Brits are ready to prove themselves to everyone and show what they can now accomplish with the time and effort they’ve put into playing a sport they love. Our next home game is Wednesday the 24th against Alma College, so come out on out and support the Brits and see all of our time and hard work in action.

And fans, always remember…
I GOT YOUR BACK!

Julie

Captains’ Update!

The Albion College Britons continue their non-conference schedule.

As the Albion College Women’s Lacrosse team progresses into conference games, we as captains are feeling very confident about the rest of our season. We’re off to a great start with a 3-3 record, but those numbers don’t define our team. The scoreboard doesn’t show the hard work and commitment that each player has contributed. We have been focusing on ground balls, draw controls, and rebounds, because those details are what directs the game. We have been consistently improving in these areas, so we think it is time to raise our standards in order to reach our full potential as a team this season.

When facing DePauw on Saturday, our team realized how great we can be when we work together. Going into the game man-down presented challenges for everyone. We’re both midfielders, so we knew how tough this game was going to be both physically and mentally. Our team exceeded our expectations when we came back from a 1-6 deficit, scoring 7 unanswered goals before halftime. Our team exceeded our expectations when, in the second half, we continued to stay positive despite tired legs and pushed each other through the end of the game. Our team exceeded our expectations when we had won all three of our focus categories: ground balls, draw controls, and rebounds. Now that all these expectations have been exceeded, the next step is to raise the bar.

Sunday we came out with a win against Franklin, but once again, the numbers aren’t the whole story. We definitely didn’t play our best, especially after realizing our capabilities on Saturday. Sunday’s game is just a reminder of how far we have come, but also how much room for improvement we still have. This is such an exciting time of the season because we see our potential and now we are refining and developing as a family.

We look forward to growing together as a team the remainder of the season. Come see our progress at our conference opener versus Olivet, on Thursday April 4th at 7pm in our very own Sprankle-Sprandel stadium!

– #2 Mackenzie Novak & #3 Ashley Glenn

The season is finally rolling!

Hey Brit Fans!

After a month of hard work in The Dow, Albion’s indoor rec center, we completed our first two games. We traveled out of state to Pennsylvania and Ohio this past weekend.
Our first game against Saint Vincent ended in an unfortunate loss, but motivated us to work even harder the next day. After an early morning, a long day of travel and playing a game in a snow storm we were all beat once we arrived at the hotel. We all hit the bed early that night to reenergize for our game the next day.

On Sunday, upon arriving to Franciscan in Ohio, we were informed that the field was being snow plowed so it would be a little bit until we could play. Once on the field we began our warm up and stayed focused to help us forget about the 3 inches of snow under our cleats. The game began and we were off to a strong start. Gradually we began to build up our score. By the end of the game there were huge smiles across all of our faces; We won! As a team we encouraged each other and pushed ourselves to continue to work hard which lead us to the victory.

By the time we showered and loaded up the bus again we were exhausted, but satisfied. Being a college athlete is very rewarding, especially when you have a team that meshes well together. Although we are small in numbers, we are strong all together. The bond created from the start has really helped us work well on the field. With spring break ahead of us we are looking forward to a short break, but are all pumped to get back at it to get ready for our next opponents: Augustana and Aurora. Well until then Brit Fans, enjoy the end of winter and stay tuned to come watch the lady Brits play this spring!

Julie

Lacrosse season has arrived!

Hey there readers,

Lacrosse season is finally here! The last two weeks have been full of practice, weight training, clinics and team bonding. I’m finally understanding what it means to “eat, breathe and live lacrosse!” Playing a sport in college is very time consuming, but there are so many benefits to being a part of the team. For one, we’ve built a family. Each girl brings a unique aspect to the team which helps us get along so well. Although practices can be tough, we all manage to encourage each other and stay positive while trying to meet our goals. I feel like the strength of any team’s bond makes a difference on the field. This is a big advantage for our team this year. Because we are low in numbers, creating strong friendships is easier. I cannot wait until March 2nd (our first game!!) to see all of our hard work come together.

Some team bonding time during our 1st annual Dow Center scavenger hunt.

Managing my time while playing lacrosse has brought on some challenges. Deciding when to start homework, finding time for lunch and dinner, realizing when it’s okay to take a power nap and making sure I get to practice on time has been a little bit of a struggle. I am lucky enough to have a team full of girls who are all dealing with similar issues. My captains constantly reassure me that it all works out and there is still time to do other things on campus. Both captains, Ashley and Mackenzie, have become awesome role models for me to look up to. Even when I stress about the little things, like time management, they’re always there to support me. Strong leaders build strong teams. I can already see their positive attitudes rubbing off on the rest of the team. This new season is going to be awesome!

Talk to you soon,

Julie