By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
The defending state champion Bishop Ireton girls’ lacrosse team is headed into playoff season with a 16-3 record and a hunger for victory.
The team kicked off WCAC playoffs at home with an 18-7 win over Bishop O’Connell Tuesday evening.
Tuesday’s quarterfinal win was a step toward repeating the team’s 2017 winning season – last year, the Cardinals walked away with championship wins in both the WCAC and state tournaments.
“That’s always been our motto: ‘Six games in May,’” Madison Mote, one of the team’s three senior captains, said. “We always talk about that, which is the six playoff games – three for WCAC and three for states.”
Tuesday’s win leaves the Cardinals with five more to go to meet their goal.
“This is probably one of the most talented, if not the most talented, teams I’ve had in terms of physical ability,” Head Coach Richard Sofield said. “We’re just physically gifted. They’re fast, they’re strong, they’re athletic [and] they can throw and catch.”
Despite a naturally strong physical game, Sofield said his players needed to work on their mental game.
“Our drawback is our decision-making, our lax IQ at times and the amount of passion and energy that we bring from game to game. If we can get more consistent with those mental and emotional aspects of the game, we can be world-beaters,” Sofield said.
“I think sometimes we tend to be a little lackadaisical at practice and stuff,” Captain Lexie Ledoyen said. “We’re kind of, like, too chill sometimes.”
Sofield said this year’s team has challenged him as a coach. He has been coaching girls’ lacrosse for about 16 years and the team at B.I. team for eight of those.
“This is my first time coaching where it’s been less about the physical ability and more about all the other stuff. So for me, I feel like I’m trying to learn how to do my best at pulling that out of them because that’s not something I’ve done as a coach before,” he said.
Mote said she and her fellow captains had been working on keeping up energy at practices.
“We had a point in the season where it was sort of low energy,” Mote said, “but we turned the corner and now we’ve got our energy back. [There’s] music at practices, everyone’s cheering at the drills and I think that has a really big impact on how we play, too. The sidelines are always hype.”
Ledoyen said the team is relatively young, having lost 12 graduating seniors last year, but that the dynamic has been positive.
“I’m just hoping to get to the championship and get another trophy,” Ledoyen said.
Ledoyen, Mote and the team’s third captain, Lizzie Lohrer, all plan to play lacrosse in college next year – Mote at Notre Dame, Ledoyen at Syracuse and Lohrer at Virginia Tech.
“I want to go out with two [championships] this year, so hopefully it works out,” Mote said.
The Cardinals won 13-3 against St. John’s College High School in the semifinals Thursday night.