Lacrosse, Sports

Lacrosse taking the next step

Martha Muswema (left) practices a drill with Kyra Saragaglia (right) during a practice. Muswema has made a unique tradition that brought her to Wartburg's lacrosse field from Africa. —Lucas Wendland/TRUMPET
Martha Muswema (left) practices a drill with Kyra Saragaglia (right) during a practice last season. Head Coach Anna Meerbach has high hopes for the program this season.  —File photo

Wartburg Lacrosse head coach Anna Meerbach is entering into her second year at the helm of the program and has set new expectations for her team.

 

The lacrosse team is only in its third year as an official Wartburg sport, but Meerbach is already the second coach in its history.

After two different coaches in the first two years, Meerbach is now able to add stability to the team and said things are definitely different than last year.

“I think coming into this year, it’s less about me being a new coach and us being a new program, and more about where we want to go as a team,” Meerbach said.

Meerbach came to Wartburg after serving as an assistant coach at Lebanon Valley College.

She said while she was at Lebanon Valley, the lacrosse team was regularly ranked in the top 30 and received a lot of national recognition.

This was something Meerbach has been used to, even back to her playing days.

While attending college at Elizabethtown College, Meerbach was a three year starter as a defender and was even named team captain for her senior season.

She experienced a lot of success as a player, making it to the NCAA Tournament twice and advancing as far as the Sweet Sixteen.

One thing that excited Meerbach about this year’s team is the experience of players that have been a part of the program since the beginning.

She said they could help change the outcome of closer games the team has played in the past.

One of those veteran players is starting goalie Karolina Paulsen and she spoke highly of her second-year head coach.

“It would be quicker to tell you about how she hasn’t helped our team transform,” Paulsen said. “She’s a very talented coach.”

Wartburg is coming off of a 7-10 season, including a 3-6 record in conference play.

However, Paulsen and Meerbach think the team is headed in the right direction.

Paulsen said one of the goals this season is to move away from being considered the new kids on the block.

They are going to focus on qualifying for the conference tournament and making some noise in postseason play.

The lacrosse team begins their season on Feb. 28 in St. Louis, Missouri as they take on the Lindenwood University Lions.

Meerbach said this season will be different than the previous years.

“The overall skill level is completely different,” Meerbach said.

“If you compare us right now in preseason to where we were at the end of the last season, it’s a whole brand new team.”

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