San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU women’s lacrosse 2023 season preview and coach’s expectations

A breakdown of the upcoming 2023 season for SDSU women’s lacrosse, which will join the Pac-12 in 2024
Photo Courtesy of SDSU Athletics
Aztec lacrosse team huddles before a game. SDSU lacrosse will be moving to the APc-12 following the conclusion of this season but will face Pac-12 competition in 2023.

Aztec women’s lacrosse kicks off their 2023 season on Feb. 4 in an exhibition match against Claremont Mudd-Scripps with five key returning seniors and one Penn State transfer.

SDSU women’s lacrosse joins the Pac-12 in 2024 and what it means for this season

On May 31, 2022, the Pac-12 announced that they will be adding SDSU and UC Davis women’s lacrosse as affiliate members no later than the 2023-24 academic year. 

“UC Davis and San Diego State are a great fit for our Conference and we look forward to expanding to eight teams,” Pac-12 deputy commissioner Teresa Gould said in the release. “Women’s lacrosse continues to be a rapidly-growing sport nationally, and we hope that the addition of two additional programs in the Pac-12 helps support continued growth on the West Coast.”

The Scarlet and Black was a part of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) from 2011 to 2021 and were conference champions in 2018 and 2019. Yet, the MPSF dropped women’s lacrosse after the 2021 season due to Fresno State dropping their women’s lacrosse program.

Although this will be the Aztecs’ second straight season as an independent team, head coach Kylee White said at practice on Jan. 23, that she is amazed by the announcement and is using this season as preparation for the Pac-12.

“We’re excited. It’s been a long time coming,” White said. “We’re taking our focus right now for this season as prep to enter the Pac-12. ‘Hitting the ground running’ I think is the saying.”

SDSU will be facing University of California, Berkeley on Feb. 19, University of Southern California on Feb. 24, Arizona State on April 21 at home, then University of Colorado Boulder on April 7 in Colorado. All those teams are a part of the Pac-12 currently.

Returning senior attacker CJ Jones is excited that the team is joining the Pac-12 in 2024, despite her departure from the team at the end of the 2023 season. She said they want to take their dominance in the MPSF to the Pac-12.

“I think it’s very, very well deserved. This team just works so hard,” Jones said at practice on Jan. 23. “We were a part of the MPSF, we were dominant forces there and I feel transferring that to the Pac-12…. it’s gonna be really fun to watch this team grow.”     

What is important to know about this season’s roster

A key offensive contributor last year, junior attacker Camdyn O’Donnell, decided to transfer to the University of Pittsburgh in the offseason.

In her two seasons with the Aztecs, she had 39 goals, 22 assists, a .796 shot on goal (SOG) percentage, 25 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.

Last year she set two school records. In the 18-12 win over Marquette on March 15, 2022, she had a school record of 14 shots in the game (10 of them were on goal). In the 18-15 win at the University of Oregon on Feb. 27, 2022, she had eight ground balls, the most picked up in a game in the school’s history.

With such a firecracker of a player transferring out of San Diego for her senior year, coach White said her decision doesn’t impact the team moving forward but she helped the future of the offense. 

“No, it doesn’t change anything. We wish her all the best,” White said. “I think she helped prepare the future of some of the positions in the offense. We have some great transfers coming in and some new looks. I think we’re going to be fine.”

Speaking of transfers, SDSU acquired Penn State senior transfer attacker Sydney Wolfington, who played four years at Penn State, was a three-time Academic All Big Ten Selection and named to the Dean’s Lists every semester.

Wolfington played 11 games last season, had three starts and six goals. With O’Donnell’s transfer to the University of Pittsburgh and the departures of former senior midfielders Bailey Brown and Julia Lytle, it seems promising for her to be a consistent starter for the Aztecs.

“I think she has stepped in and gelled quickly with our team and was a standout player in the state of Pennsylvania,” White said about Wolfington. “We haven’t defined our starting group yet. I think, yes, she’s in the mix of potential starters.”

Although it will be a second season without conference competition, five seniors who were vital to the team’s competitiveness last season are returning to The Mesa. Senior attacker Deanna Balsama, who set a school record for the most goals in a single season (62), senior midfielder Cailin Young, the Aztecs’ main draw controller, Jones, returning from a knee injury that sidelined her last season, senior defender Shelby Hook, the leader on defense and senior goalkeeper Sam Horan, who set a school record for most saves in a single game (21 saves against Princeton on March 12, 2022).  

The first two regular season games against Notre Dame and Marquette

The Aztecs first regular season matchup is at Notre Dame on Feb. 10. The last time the two teams played was on April 20, 2018, when the then No. 20 Fighting Irish defeated SDSU 16-7.

Notre Dame was ranked No. 20 in the NCAA RPI last season with a 9-10 record and a 3-5 record in the ACC.

After playing the Fighting Irish, the Aztecs wrap up the weekend at Marquette on Feb. 12. SDSU is 2-0 overall against the Golden Eagles and the last time the two teams played was on March 15, 2022, when they won 18-12 at home.

The two times the teams played each other were in San Diego, so the Aztecs will be going into unfamiliar territory for their third matchup.

Marquette was 8-10 last season, but 3-2 in the Big East and got knocked out in the Big East Championship semifinal game against Georgetown with a 17-13 loss. 

The Golden Eagles were ranked No. 63 in the NCAA RPI last season, eight ranks lower than SDSU (No. 55). 

About the Contributor
Adam Correa
Adam Correa, Senior Staff Writer
Adam is a senior at San Diego State University studying journalism and media studies. This is his second year with The Daily Aztec. He loves watching sports, reading, and going to the gym in his free time. He mainly writes for the sports section, but also loves doing on-camera reporting and multimedia content. He previously was the assistant sports editor and blog editor for The Telescope newspaper at Palomar College. In the summer of 2022, he did an internship with Thesocialtalks digital newspaper, where he wrote for the latest news, opinion, and sports section. When he graduates from San Diego State University, he wants to be a sports writer for a popular newspaper organization or a sports reporter for a tv station.
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SDSU women’s lacrosse 2023 season preview and coach’s expectations