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SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW: A New State Of Mind

Meditation And Visualization Steady Lacrosse For 2013

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 03:02

LAx

Graham Beck / Heights Editor

“It’s really nice,” Rix said. “Obviously it’s sometimes hard to get pumped up for practice, so the music just helps. It creates a lighter energy and it also makes it really fun to warm up and dance around a little bit.”

A loose atmosphere combined with a focused work ethic have defined the team since Walker took over.

“That’s kind of Acacia’s philosophy,” Stanwick said. “Be loose, go hard, and don’t leave anything on the field. I think the music in the beginning just loosens you up.”

It’s the reason why the team can have so much energy during a brief, 30-minute walkthrough in less than 20-degree weather, just one day after defeating Vanderbilt 13-8 in the Eagles’ home opener. BC is getting ready to travel to Columbus, Ohio the next day in order to face No. 13 Ohio State, so Walker wants to get a quick practice in before the trip, despite having a game the previous day. None of the players seem to mind the weather or the quick workout. They sprint out onto the field as Walker calmly and confidently shouts tips to her players during stickwork.

The players all respond to Walker well, with most of them being familiar with the coach since they got to BC, including Blue, the senior captain.

“It’s been a pretty seamless transition, I would have to say, because we’ve had Acacia since I was a sophomore and now that she’s a head coach she’s definitely filling the role out well,” Blue said. “She has a great supporting staff as well. She has Jenn [Kent] who has been here all of my four years and I think totally five and she has Alex [Frank] who has won three national championships, so there’s definitely a lot of winning background to the whole coaching staff.”

It isn’t just the coaching staff’s winning background that has this new version of the program running smoothly. There’s also a youth movement that has invigorated the program. Walker graduated from Maryland in 2005, and new assistant coach Alex Frank, a three-time national champion at Northwestern, just graduated in 2012.

“It’s really great because they are so close to the game still,” Rix said. “Acacia just stopped playing this year and Alex just graduated from Northwestern which was the best program in the country last year. It’s really great because they are so knowledgable and every day in practice we go out there and learn something new that we never would have come up with. It’s awesome to get to learn new things from them.”

“They bring a lot of energy to practice every day which is awesome, so you go out there ready to play every day,” Stanwick said. “They’re two coaches that you want to play for.”

Walker has been lucky enough to inherit a team that is both very talented and still very young. BC came into the season ranked in the top 20, and outside of Blue, Rix, and Stanwick, the team has seen key contributions from freshmen Sarah Mannelly and Caroline Margolis.

With all of that skill at her disposal, especially on the attack, Walker has broken the team free from the abundance of play calls on offense that defined the team last season. Instead, she’s allowing her players to make intelligent and instinctual decisions on their own in order to find scoring lanes.

“I think the better the players you have, the less constant control you have to have, and I think we have a lot of cerebral players this year and a lot of girls who can make intelligent decisions on their own. The more you can give that to the players and give that ownership to the players, the more ownership you can give to their success,” Walker said.

And that encompasses Walker’s philosophy best. She’s trying to create the best atmosphere possible to make her players confident and successful, and, most importantly, she wants them to feel responsible when that success occurs.

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