By Cadence Russell, Online Media Manager
This spring was the inaugural season for the brand-new women’s lacrosse team, finishing the season with an overall 7-9 record. Head Coach Dominique Hamman has built the team from the ground up, literally, in her first head coaching position.
What went into establishing this team?
“I had a whole year to recruit and just find athletes because obviously, we didn’t have a club team here. So then it’s just going out and finding players. So just recruiting, going to tournaments across the country, connecting with local club programs and teams and just finding the right fit for starting this team. And then we got really fortunate because there were a lot of student-athletes who had an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID year that the NCAA gave them. So there were a few students that were already here for grad school that had a lot of experience playing at a different institution that were interested in using their last year. So, it was kind of a compilation of a bunch of different things, but that’s how the program got built.”
As the season rolls to a close, what is your favorite memory you made?
“That’s a tough one. I think there’s different categories, I think. For my favorite memory of a game, that would have to be the Gannon one. I just think it was so cool to see how mature they were closing out that game with a last-minute goal against a very established team. It was at home so that was fun. And there was just so much energy in the locker room and that was awesome.”
It seems like your team is really close, how would you describe your team?
“I think everybody that has experienced this team has always said how they’re super talented, but also like you can genuinely tell that they love and care about each other. And I remember from the very beginning everybody was adamant that we got to build this team and this culture the way we wanted it to be. And everybody was like, we don’t want any cliques. We don’t want to be one of those teams that has cliques that has the snippy-like feedback or talking behind each other’s backs or whatever. We want to be a very forward team, if you have something to say like say to somebody’s face, we always have the best intentions for each other and, well, then we love at the end of the day. We love and support each other no matter what.”
If you could tell the Daemen Community anything about your team, what would it be?
“I would just want them to know how dedicated these student-athletes are to just representing Daemen to the best of their ability, like they truly embody what it means to be a college lacrosse player here. They take so much pride in representing this university but also representing themselves and working towards something way bigger than themselves. And I think the way that they go about that work every single day is super commendable, especially for such as young group, you know, there was nobody planting those seeds ahead of time that they got to watch and aspire to be like, like they had no idea what it took to be a college lacrosse player until they got here. And they’ve done a pretty dang good job of it. I think that they have set the bar extremely high for the classes to come in and what the expectation is for the work you’ve put in and for the commitment to the academics as well. And they just care so much and they work extremely hard. They have such a gritty, blue-collar mentality and it’s just awesome to see.”
Talking about lacrosse as a sport, how would you describe it to someone who knows nothing about the sport if you want them to come out and watch? What should they expect?
“I would say it’s a really high-scoring game, so that’s exciting. Different than like soccer per se. Similar to how the ball works in the zone in basketball. We have a lot of set plays. Defense works very similarly. You have the transition game, which is very similar to a full-court press in basketball. And there’s just a lot of strategy that is involved in it. And then I would also say it’s physical. So there’s a lot of really exciting moments where you just see the physicality and the strength and the speed of these athletes on show.”
In the upcoming year, what are you looking forward to seeing?
“I think the biggest thing this year was setting a solid foundation for years to come. And they’ve done more than that. I think they’ve definitely exceeded expectations. And so next year, you know, just being a little bit better, right, and seeing where we started, okay, what’s the next step look like? What does the next level of accomplishment look like? Do we get our freshmen ready to go, fit from the start ready to compete at a high level? Do we take accountability to you know, make individual goals for ourselves of what we want to work to achieve? And then just being true to finishing it out strong.”