Gianna Rusk controls possession against Cabrini University during the 2019 season. Rusk is one of the captains this season. - File Photo / Miguel Martinez

Rowan women’s lacrosse will face off against Kean University at Richard Wackar Stadium this Saturday at 1 p.m. After having their matches against Cabrini and Immaculata Universities canceled, the team is ready to get back out on the field. 

The last game on March 10 against Washington College was a second loss for the Profs, with a final score of 5-14. Considering the team is seeing a short season, Head Coach Lindsay Delaney is mindful that future games could get canceled. 

“I think there was disappointment, obviously, but this is just a reminder of the world that we’re living in,” Delaney said. “It was a gentle reminder that these are the things that are going to be happening throughout the season, and we expect them to happen again.”

Delaney is looking for the match against Kean University to help the team make significant improvements. 

“We need to get better on the draw circle,” Delaney said. “We need to get better in transitioning and coming out of our defensive end and into our offensive end.” 

One player who can help the team see quick success is Gianna Rusk, a junior co-captain and defender who is majoring in biological sciences. 

“Gi is the full package,” Delaney said. “She’s a great communicator, she has a great work ethic, she’s a junior captain and she is positive at all times, even when she has no reason to be. She was our most consistent defensive performer her freshman year with some really strong defenders.”

When Rusk found out she would become a co-captain last year, she was ready to take on that leadership role.

“I was so excited to lead the team in a different way,” Rusk said. “I was so ready to take on a year that we didn’t really know what was going to happen. I thought that was the best part; I felt like the captains that the coaches chose were the perfect people to lead through something so unknown.” 

Rusk believes the biggest challenge and reward is making sure all seven other defenders communicate on an equal level. 

“You have to create these friendships and bonds and then eventually, it turns into being a unity, a full unit that we all work on together,” Rusk said. 

The 2020 lacrosse season was cut short due to the pandemic, with the Profs only competing in five games. For Rusk and her teammates, it was a difficult loss. 

“Everything that we wanted got ripped away so fast and abruptly,” Rusk said. “We were all just so taken aback by it.” 

This season is a fresh start for Rusk and the team, and she has learned so much from her fellow co-captains Ashley Lechliter, Dara Hennessy and Julia Grlica. 

“I feel like they have just opened my eyes to so much and give me their input on things,” Rusk said. “I feel on the field they have taught me how to see everything.” 

One way Rusk sees the team achieving a win is by connecting with one another as a whole. 

“Right now, we have a solid defense but we’re kind of losing each other in transition and in the mid-field,” Rusk said. “I feel at practice we’re working on that a lot, so it’s definitely something that we’re hitting.” 

Moving forward, the team plans to rely on each other to deal with an uncertain season.

“Every bump in the road is hard, and it’s hard when games get canceled,” Rusk said. “At least we all have each other and we’re doing it as teammates, and as a team all together. Being able to lean on your teammates when things get hard, I think, is the best part of it.”

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