March 6, 2014

WD3 Notebook: 'Lady Bros' Thriving Off Chaos

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter


Sophomore defender Courtney Szczesniak earned the Golden Eagles' Thunder Cape for her play in the early season. (Brockport)

Their days begin before 6 am. Their power is derived from a not-yet-fully-functional Thunder Cape. And they thrive off chaos.

They're the lady bros, and they just knocked off two of the top 20 teams in the country this weekend.

On Saturday, Brockport used a late rally to slide by No. 20 Stevenson, 11-9. The next day, against No. 15 Susquehanna, the Golden Eagles surrendered a late lead in regulation, surrendered another lead during the first overtime, then won it, 18-17, when Nina Tassone scored off an assist from Kelly Wall. 

Junior Remie Harr made 10 saves in the Stevenson win. Senior Emily Zartman scored seven goals in Susquehanna victory. And while the games haven’t been perfect, the Golden Eagles now stand at 2-1 -- and at No. 14 in the latest LM Rankings -- despite opening with one Division III’s toughest schedules.

“It was a lot closer than it needed to be but they stayed with it and found ways to win both of those games,” said Brockport coach Steve Wagner.

“Our team motto is, ‘Embrace the chaos.’”

Brockport has added a little chaos to the seasons of its SUNYAC rivals for a while -- they pushed Cortland to overtime last season and later knocked Fredonia out of the conference tournament. But with their early victories, the Golden Eagles are forcing the rest of Division III to learn who they are.

Which leads to the question: What exactly is a “lady bro?”

It’s a little way for the Golden Eagles’ men’s and women’s teams to support each other. You know, there are the lax bros and then there are the lady bros.

“Good luck today lax bros,” the women’s team will say. “Good luck today lady bros,” the men’s team will answer.

Needless to say they’re a little different at Brockport.

“I like weird kids,” Wagner said. “We get a different kind here. We pull the hungry kids, the kid that might not have been the most highly-touted coming out of high school, but they live and breathe lacrosse.”

Put another way, these are players who bring the thunder. And those who best embody that ethos are rewarded with the aforementioned Thunder Cape.  

There’s a story behind that, too.

Junior Ciara McKeon dressed as Thor for Halloween and started bringing a picture of the Norse god/superhero with her to practice. She was soon known as the player who brought the thunder. They then upgraded to an actual green cape -- the Thunder Cape -- to be given to the player who best brought the thunder. Sophomore defender Courtney Szczesniak earned the Thunder Cape for her spirited play early on, but suffered a season-ending injury this weekend. 

“Someone else has to earn the Thunder Cape now,” Wagner said.

Until then, the cape is back with Wagner. He’s waiting to iron on Brockport’s Golden Eagle logo to complete its powers.

The owner of that cape will bring it to practice, which typically begins at 6 a.m. so the Eagles can get work in on Brockport’s turf field. The tweets hashtagged “ladybros” and “embracethechaos” sometimes start popping up an hour earlier than that.

The Golden Eagles are a weird group and live by only a few rules.

“No joggers,” Wagner said. “I need workers. Maniacs that aren’t afraid to win games.”

There was no fear this weekend. The Lady Bros will look to continue that on Saturday, with their home opener against St. Lawrence.

Wheatley, Geremia on Tewaaraton Watch List

Salisbury senior Ashton Wheatley and Cortland sophomore Erica Geremia were both named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List this week.

Wheatley, LM’s Division III Preseason Player of the Year and the two-time defending IWLCA goalkeeper of the year, has made 24 saves while allowing just 16 goals in three wins for the Sea Gulls to open the season.

Geremia, who led D-III in scoring as a freshman, had four goals and three assists in Cortland’s season-opening victory over Union on Monday and followed that up with one goal and seven assists in the Red Dragons’ 22-6 victory over William Smith on Wednesday.

Looking Ahead

Saturday No. 13 Bowdoin (0-1) at No. 10 Amherst (2-0), noon

The last NESCAC team other than Trinity or Middlebury to reach the Final Four was Bowdoin in 2011. The last NESCAC team other than Trinity or Middlebury to win the NCAA championship was Amherst in 2003. This showdown could provide a glimpse whether one of these two teams can shake up the status quo in 2014. The Lord Jeffs opened their season by holding off Bates, 12-8, behind three goals and three assists from Caroline Holliday. Bowdoin lost by an identical score to then-unranked Williams on the same day. At least the Polar Bears will be no strangers to their surroundings this week - the loss to Williams was played on the nearby campus of UMass-Amherst.

Game Balls

Rebecca McGovern, Williams: The senior out of Thayer Academy (Mass.) took home NESCAC Player of the Week honors after pairing five goals with one assist in the Ephs’ 12-8, upset victory over Bowdoin on Saturday. On Wednesday against perennial-NCAA tournament team Springfield, McGovern registered one goal, five ground balls, four caused turnovers and two draw controls, in an 8-4 victory.

Katie Riddle, Sewanee: Riddle, sophomore from Charlotte, N.C., followed up a six-point performance in Friday’s 22-9 win over Hendrix with four goals and three assists in Saturday’s 16-7 victory over Carthage. The Tigers have roared out to a 5-2 start this season.

Becca Wood, Rowan: Wood opened her junior season by piling up eight goals and one assist during a 17-5 win at Goucher last Tuesday. The Cherry Hill, N.J., native then added three goals, including the eventual winner, in the Profs’ 12-8 victory over Washington College.on Saturday.

Miscellaneous 

No. 2 Trinity trailed No. 8 Colby by two at halftime, but used four unanswered goals, including a pair from Caroline Hayes, to knock off the Mules for the seventh straight time... After a stellar west coast trip, Oneonta rocketed into the Top 20 this week thanks to a 6-5 victory over RPI on on Saturday. The 18th-ranked Red Dragons scored the final three goals of the game, including the winner from Katie Flannery with 3:59 remaining. Oneonta improved to 4-0 the next day by knocking off local rival Hartwick, 17-6… Oneonta gives the SUNYAC four teams in the Top 20, the same number as the previous week thanks to Fredonia’s back-to-back losses to Stevenson and Susquehanna… The SUNYAC’s top-ranked teams, No. 3 Cortland and Geneseo both got their seasons started with big wins this week… The victory over Fredonia was the first for No. 20 Stevenson after back-to-back tough two-goal losses to Salisbury and Brockport… No. 5 Franklin and Marshall got three goals from Ali Kelly and handed No. 17 Washington and Lee its first loss, 12-4, on Saturday. The Diplomats, who then clipped local rival York, 9-3, on Wednesday, travel out to fellow unbeaten Occidental next week… No. 6 Gettysburg defeated Messiah, 16-6, on Saturday. Just one of those goals came in the first half when freshman goalie Shannon Keeler, the reigning Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week, was in the cage.


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