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Women's lax is in good hands

by Kaleem Mogent-Sports Editor
Tue, Feb 28th 2017 11:00 pm
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr

 The women's lacrosse team advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Championship Tournament in the past 2016 season. Head Coach Stephen Wagner's team just missed the 'Elite Eight' after earning an at-large bid into the big dance. The Brockport women's lacrosse team finished the year with a record of 15-4 and 6-2 in league play.  

With the 2017 season in motion, expectations are high returning from an exceedingly successful season with Wagner at the helm.  A year ago, Wagner was named the SUNYAC Coach of the Year.  This award was well-deserved, as the team set a new record of victories previously held by the 2008 Golden Eagles.  

In just his fourth season as head coach, they earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.  We can expect more of the same as he goes into his fifth season at The College at Brockport.  

Coaching philosophy is an integral part of any coach's game plan. In some ways, it is an extension of themselves that they bring to the team.  At any level a good philosophy disntinguishes successful coaches  from struggling coaches.  It's what drives them and therefore what drives their team.  

Some coaches have a rigid philosophy that doesn't change and one that their players must conform to. However, Wagner's approach to the game is quite different from other coaches and this may be the reason for his early prosperity.

"My coaching philosophy is pretty fluid depending on the kind of team we have," Wagner wrote in an email. "I put a priority on hard work and a good team attitude. I always find that question hard as I'm always trying to improve or adjust how I do things."

Going into a new season, turmoil and the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with lost games and great winning streaks are to be expected. To that, Wagner has one reliable method: "We just need to approach all ups and downs as a team and everything else will take care of itself."

In terms of new schemes he mentioned that he will try to brush up on their zone pressure defense and implementing a new read-based offense. This style of offense means the team exploits a team's weaknesses on the fly.

This season will be a little different with the addition of former player Courtney Szczesniak at the assistant coaching position.  Szczesniak joined the coaching staff in 2016 after concluding a standout athletic career in lacrosse and soccer.  

She was also named the Brockport Female Student Athlete of the Year in 2016 due to various accolades she earned as a player.  One of rewards she earned was being named a two-time SUNYAC Lacrosse All-Conference pick.

"Amazing," Szczesniak said when asked how she felt coaching the team she played on for four years. "I was given the chance to continue my love for not only the sport, but for the team as well. I am very blessed to be given this opportunity to work with such a talented and unique group of girls."

During her athletic career she has learned a lot that she hopes will help her team win and with her background of success this is what she will stress with her players: "One thing that I think helped us be so successful last season was our leaders. I stress the importance of being able to utilize our captains as a gateway from the coaching staff to the players. Game specific skills I emphasize is communication and work ethic. I work with the defense and two of our strongest assets is how together we are as a unit, based on communication and how hard we work".    

Before the season began the Golden Eagles were picked to finish No. 2 in the conference by the SUNYAC poll. Success may be on the horizon for this team, with two successful coaches bringing numerous years of knowledge as they guide this team through the 2017 season.  



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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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