Lacrosse guns for three-peat in 2020

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Lacrosse guns for three-peat in 2020

Then-freshman Julia Sheehan goes for the ball during the Aztecs' 15-9 loss to UC Davis at the Aztec Lacrosse Field on April 8, 2018.

Then-freshman Julia Sheehan goes for the ball during the Aztecs' 15-9 loss to UC Davis at the Aztec Lacrosse Field on April 8, 2018.

File photo

Then-freshman Julia Sheehan goes for the ball during the Aztecs' 15-9 loss to UC Davis at the Aztec Lacrosse Field on April 8, 2018.

File photo

File photo

Then-freshman Julia Sheehan goes for the ball during the Aztecs' 15-9 loss to UC Davis at the Aztec Lacrosse Field on April 8, 2018.

by Cristian Alvarez, Senior Staff Writer

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San Diego State lacrosse is prepared to make another run in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, but this time as the reigning, defending, back-to-back champions from the past two seasons. 

The Aztecs have an opportunity for a three-peat this season.

“I think it’s really cool,” senior midfielder Taylor Sullivan said of another potential championship. “It also makes us at San Diego State more known across the country.”

Over nine months have passed since SDSU captured its most recent and second consecutive MPSF title after defeating UC Davis in the final of the conference championships back on April 28, 2019.

The Aztecs also finished last season with 11 wins, tying the most in program history.

“We learned from last season, but we’re a completely different team with new people and have a lot more to bring,” Sullivan said. “We learned, but also had to put that in the past because we have a new job to do and are working hard to do even better this year.”

The Aztecs have had a busy offseason with plenty of change.

Six seniors graduated with 12 new freshmen and one transfer coming on.

“The freshmen this year are a really great group,” sophomore midfielder Cailin Young said. “They all work really hard and want to be here. All the upperclassmen have been helpful in getting the younger players adjusted.”

In addition to new players, head coach Kylee White added former Syracuse midfielder Taylor Gait to the coaching staff as an assistant.

Having a coach with playing experience helps relate to players during games.

“She’s still pretty young, so she knows exactly what we’re going through,” Young said.

Players in the summertime had individual training regimes and met with teammates to keep themselves fit.

In the fall semester, players reported back for practice, lifting and conditioning sessions under the team’s coaching staff.

Following the holiday break, January hosted preseason matches so players could turn their focus on the new season.

Despite losing six starters last year, the team is eager to get back onto the field.

“We were nervous losing such a dominant senior class last year, but this team bonded in a different way and really connected more than we thought was possible,” White said. “This team bought into new systems and came back fit, ready to go.”

The team officially announced this season’s schedule on Dec. 17 with a variety of new matchups lined up for the Aztecs, especially on the road.

The Aztecs start regular season play in Palo Alto against Stanford, who was ranked as No. 20 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association preseason poll.

On Feb. 23, the Aztecs travel to Los Angeles to meet No. 16 USC.

During the months of March and April, SDSU has three matches against top-10 teams in the polls.

No. 9 Michigan, No. 10 Denver and No. 1 Maryland, the 14-time NCAA champions and national champions last season, are all listed as opponents for the Aztecs.

White said high-ranked opponents require a different level of preparation but gives the Aztecs a chance to compete against some of the best programs in the country.

“That’s the challenge I want,” White said. “If you want to be the best, you got to play the best. Having teams like Maryland, Michigan, Denver and USC on your schedule, you’re going to push yourself and know you have to prepare against those great teams.”

SDSU’s home opener is on Feb. 20 against Arizona State.

Cristian Alvarez is a senior studying interdisciplinary studies. Follow him on Twitter @AlvarezTheViper.

Editor’s note: The score for exhibition against UC Davis on Feb. 1 was not the official score. The Daily Aztec was told it was an exhibition where the score was not recorded. We apologize for the error.

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