Aztec Lacrosse Coach and Players talk breaking school records at Oregon and preparing for Princeton

Junior+Camdyn+O%E2%80%99Donnell+%28on+the+left%29+and+senior+Deanna+Balsama+%28%2324%29+celebrate+after+a+goal+in+their+exhibition+match+against+Claremont+Mudd-Scripps+on+Feb.+5.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Derrick+Tuskan%29

Derrick Tuskan/SDSU Athletics

Junior Camdyn O’Donnell (on the left) and senior Deanna Balsama (#24) celebrate after a goal in their exhibition match against Claremont Mudd-Scripps on Feb. 5. (Photo courtesy of Derrick Tuskan)

by Adam Correa, Staff Writer

Two school records were broken when the San Diego State lacrosse team played the University of Oregon on Sunday, Feb. 27. Senior Deanna Balsama had the most goals in a game with eight and two games with six or more goals. Junior Camdyn O’Donnell had the most ground balls in a game with eight. 

Balsama said her teammates are a huge reason for breaking the school record.

“Finding out after was an amazing feeling,” Balsama said. “To have my teammates put me into situations to be that successful on the field is something that I’m so grateful for.”

O’Donnell was amazed when head coach Kylee White told her about breaking school records.

“I was honestly in shock,” O’Donnell said. “Coach came in after the game and was like ‘We just broke two school records’, Deanna of course with eight goals in the game was a record and me with eight ground balls and I sat there for a second and was like ‘Did I really just have eight ground balls, what that’s crazy.’”

Senior Bailey Brown had an amazing performance at Oregon as well. She matched her career-high of nine draw controls and is the all-time career draw leader at SDSU.

With Balsama being a transfer from George Mason, White talked about how important she has been in her first five games with SDSU.

“Deanna has come in and been the offensive threat we needed,” White said. “She has really gelled quickly with the rest of the team and is becoming more of a leader.”

Balsama said she wasn’t comfortable at George Mason and there were a lot of changes within the team that she didn’t like. She had 27 goals in 13 out of the 15 games last season.

She has 26 goals in the first five games of this season and is two goals away from beating her record last season.

Balsama talked about her struggles with George Mason and how comfortable she feels at SDSU.

“Last year was really tough for me mentally, it was a lot of change and I was put in an environment I no longer wanted to be a part of,” Balsama said. “Being at SDSU now has been the greatest decision for me. My teammates and coaches welcomed me with open arms and the constant support I get from them everyday, like always being pushed at practice, has helped me thrive so much.”

Balsama couldn’t go into detail about what happened at George Mason but she said she was uncomfortable with the head coaching change at George Mason. 

With O’Donnell putting up career numbers at Oregon, White said her contribution this season has been nonstop. 

“Cam has been like a spark,” White said. “She is really a hustler and getting those ground balls or caused turnovers is the start of our defense and ultimately the start of our offense.” 

The Aztecs are 2-3 to start the season, yet there has been inconsistency from game to game. Their first home game of the season is against a very prominent Ivy League University the Princeton Tigers (3-0) on Saturday, March 12.

White said preparation has been centered around discipline and consistency on offense and defense.

“Our preparation is about discipline, I think the fouls we have been called on have been detrimental,” White said. “We are focusing a lot on offense because if we are getting those defensive stops, our offense needs to capitalize and I don’t think we’ve had the production that we wanted from the entire team.”

Balsama — who only has one assist this season — is working to become a more all-around player but still loves getting set up for goal-scoring opportunities.

“This is the perfect time for a break,” Balsama said. “I like being feeded and I like feeding others and like being a part of every play or making things happen for others.”

O’Donnell wants to focus on film and learn the opponent’s defense.

“One thing I need to do is watch film and see the defenses that they (the Princeton Tigers) are going to be running and definitely scout out the goalie and see what shots work on her and go into it (the game) like I want to compete and have fun and play with my best friends on the field,” O’Donnell said.