Lacrosse caps off historic first season

Hamline proves that winning isn’t just an individual effort.


Cole Mayer

First-year Lexus Tatge goes for a goal in the game against Augsburg earlier this season, where the Pipers achieved a 10-8 victory.

Jake Kjos, Senior Reporter

Coming into their first year as a varsity lacrosse team, it was reasonable to expect that this season would be long and difficult as the Pipers transitioned from a club team to the next level of competition. Led by head coach Karen Heggernes, the lacrosse team surprised many by beating established programs and setting the tone for future years to come.

Junior midfielder Sarah Campbell attributed the team’s success to their focus on building the program’s culture instead of focusing only on the game itself. They also embraced the opportunity to perform above expectations as a first year program.

“I think that’s really unique. We had that pressure to make history,” Campbell said.

With the team finishing their year having a winning record, first-year goalie Molly Dionne reflected on where the team was at the start of the season and what they have become now.

“Skill-wise a lot of the girls came in with club skills. Everything was honed by the coaches. We went all the way from [working on] checking to ghost cuts and more advanced stuff,” Dionne said.

Hamline had a diverse range of experience on the team with some who had never played lacrosse before, to those who have been playing at high levels in high school throughout their career. That mixture provided some interesting exchanges between upperclassmen and first-years, which senior defenseman Monica Lannon described.

“As a senior, I’ve actually learned from them. They were able to teach me some new lacrosse skills. I was able to give them that guidance and support,” Lannon said.

Lannon emphasized how strong the team’s bond is and credited that as a major factor in their success.

“It’s amazing. We’re all so close with one another. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” she said.

One moment during the season highlighted this team unity, as the team came together during a difficult and emotional time when Dionne’s grandpa died before a game.

“A couple teammates threw me under their shoulder,” Dionne said. “The team gathered around me. They played for me and played for my grandpa and they played for each other.”

Dionne noted the effect a moment like that has on team chemistry and how that translates into on-field results.

“The defense has been awesome. It’s just a very cohesive unit. I think we’ve been so successful because we’re so cohesive,” she said.

Campbell outlined the mindset the team has with their emphasis on team-building and not just individual accomplishments.

“Every goal that we make or have against us is a product of the ninety seconds that happen before that,” she said. “Every goal is a team goal.”

Lannon looked back on what she took away personally from this season as she finishes her lacrosse career.

“I have gathered a new sense of dedication. Practicing every day is much different than twice a week,” Lannon said.

Having a more demanding practice schedule paid off for Hamline with wins against teams like Augsburg and numerous games with a winning margin of more than ten. Campbell singled out the April 23 game against Aurora as a highlight.

“We weren’t really expected to win that game. The last goal in the last six seconds was kind of a shock to everyone,” Campbell said.

As the team moves forward, they will look to build on program defining moments like that game. Campbell talked about how next year will be different than this season.

“Now we’ve created rivalries. We’ve created rivalries with Aurora and Augsburg,” she said.

Dionne talked about one of the ways next season will have a different feel.

“Next year it’s gonna be hard not to have our captain Monica. If I have a problem I go to her,” Dionne said.

Lannon, along with fellow seniors Jordan Nielsen, Rachel Todd, Hayley Springer, Megan Gjere and McKenzie Dockter, leave behind a positive lasting impact in their one year at the varsity level.

With a large class of incoming recruits, the team’s future looks bright as the experience gained by first-years with large roles gives them knowledge of what to expect next season. On and off the field, Hamline lacrosse’s first season cannot be categorized as anything but a success.