By Meghan Falconer
On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 22, the temperature dipped down to 40 degrees, the wind blew at 20 mph and the rain fell heavily. Most University of Dallas students were snug in their dorms or apartments, but the UD women’s lacrosse team was battling Southwestern University in a game no one will forget.
Southwestern played a fast-paced motion offense and had short and accurate feeds in front of UD’s goal. The team was able to gain a comfortable lead against UD. However, the UD women’s defensive team, led by senior Anne Belton, was able to control the zone more and more throughout the game, forcing its opponents to step up their game in order to counter. The Crusader midfield and offense also had great synergy, with which Belton was pleased.
“We were chasing ground balls, instead of just running in our transitions; the midfielders were making accurate passes despite them triple-teaming the ball,” said Belton. Junior midfielder Colby Madrigal likewise was impressed by the Crusader effort.
“We had really good ball movement and strong passes,” she said. “The only problem was [that] the rain made it harder to keep control.”
The game suddenly stopped when Erin Chadwick, a freshman and key member of the Crusaders’ offense, collapsed on the field due to the frigid conditions. The rest of the athletes took a knee and held their breath.
“It looked like she had fainted,” said senior midfielder Mary Hilker. “Coach and the trainer rushed onto the field, and when they revived her, she asked where she was and then passed out again.” The downed Crusader was carried to the pavilion and remained there until an ambulance arrived. Both teams now had to persevere through not only the miserable conditions but also the distraction of the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. The Crusaders played on all the while, in the face of worry for their teammate’s health.
By the second half, Southwestern was leading 12-0 and continued to take advantage of Crusader dropped balls and exhausted transitions. However, the Crusaders began to recover their fire once sophomore defender Mary White scored her first career goal after running the ball all the way up field.
“It seemed like slow motion,” White said. “The cold had everyone pushing their hardest just to get up to speed or make a simple dodge. I came into the 8-meter arc, was fouled by Southwestern and was set up for a penalty shot. I made it just below the goalie’s right arm, and I was ecstatic when I saw it hit the back of the net. First goal ever, after a scoreless season last year; it was a long time coming, and it sure felt good.”
The clock showed 13:17 left in the game when the referees and coaches decided that due to the conditions, the game would only proceed until the 12 minute mark.
“The last minute and 17 seconds was the most energetically played of the entire game,” Belton said. “Like true UD students, we are motivated best by deadlines.” Junior midfielder Hayley Rodgers made a spectacular goal, assisted by White. The buzzer sounded, and both teams were finally able to get warm.
Though the final score was 15-2 in favor of Southwestern, Crusader fan David Woodling reported that “Both teams did really well, and the score didn’t do justice to how UD played.”
Junior attack player Marisol Gonzalez commented on the team’s perserverance.
“Although Southwestern won, the experience strengthened our team’s unity and will to keep going no matter what,” she said.