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SAU Women’s Lacrosse Season

During the span of this season, the SAU Women’s lacrosse team faced a couple of changes that affected their team. The first is a change in the conference in which they play. The second was a coaching change days before the second game of the season. 

When the coaching change happened, the team posted on both Twitter and Instagram announcing the new head coach, Katie Baranski, and a grad assistant, Allie Ruggerio, who were added simultaneously. The change was announced on both accounts on March 7, 2023. Both had similar captions, with the Twitter post saying, “Bee-yond excited to share that two of our St. Ambrose Women’s Lacrosse Alum have returned to our coaching staff! From players to coaches, we look forward to finishing the season strong with these ladies! NOW LETS RIDE BEES”. https://twitter.com/sauwomenslax/status/1633191085726900224?cxt=HHwWgICxsfaooaotAAAA

Photo from the announcement on SAU Women’s Lacrosse Pages. Photo courtesy of (@sauwomenslax) on Twitter.

Having two alumni back on the team’s roster as coaches, helped put the team in a better position knowing that both Baranski and Ruggerio were players in the program within the last two years. When coach Baranski was asked about what it felt like to be asked to come back to a team that she was just on not too long ago, she stated, “It’s definitely an honor and a great opportunity. I know firsthand all the hard work these girls put in, especially since it’s a program that I helped build. Knowing the girls is a benefit. They gave me all the respect that I needed when I came in, I didn’t have any problems trying to fight with that.” 

When asked about coming in so early in the season and there being some set standards, coach Baranski stated, “Every coach when you come in, you want to set your own standards. It is really hard to work off of someone else’s set standards, especially since I hold a little bit higher of a standard for my athletes, than the standards set before. It was a little more of a difficult transition, but I tried to make it as smooth as possible, but going forward I would like to implement my own practices and standards.” 

Great place to put a quote from a player!

Although the Bees aren’t having a season as successful as last year, there is always something that can change going into the next season. The team finished in second place in the conference tournament, with an overall record of 8-7.  

When asked about looking back at the season, Coach Baranski stated, “They excelled in positivity and mindset. [Because] losing a coach is really hard, especially the timing of when you lose one. They just took everything in stride and they really know how to deal with adversity and take it on the chin when they need to.” 

But even with the coaching change, that didn’t stop some of the athletes from getting different accomplishments and acknowledgments throughout the season. These accomplishments included personal milestones for a couple of seniors, as well as conference accolades for different members of the team. 

Graphic about the conference awards that were announced during the conference tournament. Photo Courtesy of SAU Athletics Website.

Coach Baranski stated about these accomplishments, “We did have a good mix of milestones completed by seniors and by underclassmen. Anabelle Brown is one of our second-team all-conference players who is one of our sophomores who is definitely a standout athlete who we can work with in the future. We have Rea[-Samone Brown] and Abby Taaffe who were named all-conference defenders as well.”

Having another coaching change for some of the upperclassmen is never easy, but it is always a learning experience for both players and coaches. But for the bees, that won’t stop them next season, as they will have at least 14 of their 26-woman roster return for another season. Coach Baranski also stated that, “I think that we have a good mix of talent that is staying and I am looking forward to continue to foster that talent next season.”

With moving forward into even next season, Coach Baranski stated, “There is a lot of things I want to do, [but] obviously I want to get better athletes on campus, I wanna make sure that we are competing at the highest level that we possibly can, that we not only look motivated but we are motivated to compete with some of the top teams like Benedictine, which we have been able to compete with in the past.” 

We wish the Women’s Lacrosse team and coach Baranski a good off-season, as well as continued success next year as a team. We would also like to thank Coach Baranski for taking the time to talk about the team. 

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