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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Spring sports use winter break as preparation for season

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Senior softball pitcher Ashley Ventura winds up for a pitch in Hagan practice gym. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

For most St. Joe’s students, winter break is a time to relax after a semester ends, but for student athletes who take part in a spring sport, it is a time for preparation.

Women’s lacrosse senior attack Rebecca Lane went home to Australia over winter break. Eight thousand miles away from Hawk Hill, she still had to stay on top of her training.

But being home in the warm Australian December didn’t bother Lane.

“[The warm weather] made it easier for me to get out and do all my running and lifting sessions,” Lane said.

According to Lane, the entire team made it a priority to get their training sessions in over the break and was focused on keeping the momentum they built over the fall season going. 

“This fall was really successful for us game wise and conditioning wise,” Lane said. “We are the fittest and fastest we have ever been so over break I think people wanted to capitalize on that.”

Rebecca Lane takes the ball behind the net against Navy

On the men’s side, junior defenseman Tyler Makar said he realized the importance of staying in shape over winter break. Since the team isn’t always together to train during that time, it is important for the team’s leadership to keep in contact with all the players.

“We make sure we are holding each other accountable,” Makar said. “The captains do a great job in the group chat reminding us it is time to buckle down and get ready for the season.”

Senior softball pitcher Ashley Ventura said she knows how rigorous the softball team’s schedule can be. Thus their pre-season prep is intentional in preparing players for potential strain on their bodies.

“Over break we are preparing ourselves mentally and physically for a long season,” Ventura said. “We average five games a week so we are constantly preparing ourselves because it takes a toll on our body.”

Once the team returns to campus, they begin practicing together again. Most of the spring sports function on a set schedule, practicing six days a week with lifting and conditioning spread throughout.

The baseball team, however, is forced to take a different approach. According to senior outfielder Charlie Concannon, the team’s practice schedule depends on whether they are able to practice outside, weather permitting. If conditions don’t allow, they attempt to reserve gym time.

Philadelphia’s east-coast weather poses a challenge to the baseball team. They are often not granted many outdoor practices before their first weekend, so when they get the opportunity to get on the field they jump at it.

“The past couple of days, we have been crazy enough to go outside,” Concannon said. “We don’t always get to do that. It can get a bit slow when we are inside because you just can’t do as much as you can if you were outside.”

These outdoor practices have added importance due to how young the baseball team is. With only four seniors returning there are a lot of underclassmen taking larger roles this season.

“It is just about getting those guys as many reps as possible and relaying as much experience to them so they can be prepared.” Concannon said.

Junior defender Tyler Makar scans the field during a game against Drexel University. PHOTO: Courtesy of Sideline Photos, LLC.

The men’s lacrosse team is facing a similar situation. The influx of young players is causing the team’s preparation to take a little longer than previous years, according to Makar.

“I don’t think we are where we want to be just yet,” Makar said. “We have a lot of young guys so we are moving a little slower than we have in the past. I think that the younger guys have done a great job trying to catch up to the speed that the older guys are at.”

The lack of experience has resulted in the team moving away from competitive drills and more toward inputting new offensive and defensive systems, according to Makar.

“It is definitely more on the install side and learning,” Makar said. “A lot of these guys were in high school last year. It is a huge adjustment. We just brought in a new offensive coordinator too so the young guys had to take a bit of a turn and start to learn from new coaches.”

Last season, Ventura said the team struggled to play together. Over break ,their practices have revolved around creating a game environment.

“Our practices are totally different from last year,” Ventura said. “The practices are more game-like so it is getting us prepared.”

After all the preparation in the winter, Lane said she can’t wait to get back out on the field with her teammates.

“Speaking for all of the seniors, I don’t think we are going to leave anything back,” Lane said. “We are going to put everything out there on the field.”

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