Coach Rob Brooks came to Elizabethtown in September 2012 to become the fourth head coach in the history of the Women’s Lacrosse program. So far in his first season their record is 3-3, but they have yet to play a Commonwealth Conference game.
Brooks has played lacrosse for 27 years and continues to compete at nation tournaments. He has been coaching at the collegiate level since 1999 at the University of Rochester, Marymount University, and Marywood University before arriving at Elizabethtown. He has also coached the Native American Haudenosaunee Women’s World Cup Team from 2008 to 2009 where he had the opportunity to coach some of the world’s most talented players. He served as a defensive coach and conditioning trainer during this opportunity.
The competitive nature of the Commonwealth Conference attracted Coach Brooks to Etown. He also admired the solid academics, community atmosphere and the integrity of all the departments.
Coach Brooks recognizes that the team has a tough schedule ahead with Messiah College and Stevenson University still on their radar. “I am thoroughly pleased with team adjusting to a different style of play both offensively and defensively in addition to my approach as being one to build each player up and make them all better to benefit us as a team,” Brooks said.
His players have adapted to the transition of their new coach. “When Coach Brooks was hired I was excited that a new coach accepted the position, and interested in seeing what knowledge he had to offer the team,” first-year Tatem Burns said.
The team has high expectations for their future games and they are ready for the challenge. “I expect us to be vying for a conference championship and proceeding to play in the NCAA’s as we have talent across the board in which to make that happen,” Brooks said. Their next game is Tuesday April 2 at Wolf Field.
Although the Elizabethtown Women’s Lacrosse Team has not played any Commonwealth Conference games yet, they are making progress in their season with a 3-3 record. This year, the team continues to adjust to the transition of their new head coach, Rob Brooks.
The team was formerly coached by Mike Faith who led the team to a Commonwealth Conference Championship in their 2012 season. After eight years of coaching since 2004, he quickly transformed his team into a powerhouse in the conference. Throughout his career, Faith obtained an overall record of 97-48, just three wins shy of becoming the school’s first coach to reach 100 victories.
Rob Brooks came to Etown in September of 2012 to be the fourth head coach of the Women’s Lacrosse program that has existed for eleven years. He has previously coached at Division III Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
“It isn’t just about playing well, but sticking together through this transition,” senior captain Emily Butler said. “I have no doubt we can win the conference championship again.” The upperclassmen have experienced a change in coaching styles, which has caused some obstacles. According to senior captain Lexi Morris, “[Coach Brooks] has been very open during the transition. Our team has responded well.”
The first-year players are involved in an interesting situation in that former Coach Faith recruited them, but they are now playing for Coach Brooks. “We were all in it together and we all learned to adapt to the new styles of coaching by Coach Brooks,” first-year Gabby Genuario said. “I think that a team with such dedication and heart can only go forward.”
The team looks forward to the rest of their spring season. They will experience tough competition further into the season with their rival Messiah College and Stevenson University, a new addition to the Commonwealth Conference. Standout sophomore Leigh Flounlacker said the team is starting to work better together and they are understanding each player’s role within the team. “We have such depth all throughout our team,” Flounlacker said. “If we play Etown Lacrosse, we’ll be very hard to beat.”
The team has a large break in their schedule before hosting Eastern University at 4 p.m. on April 2 at Wolf Field.
While some students spent their Spring break at home, the E-town Women’s Soccer Team headed to Costa Rica on Saturday, March 2. The team first landed in San Jose where they got to tour the countries capital. The first day consisted of a zip line journey in the rain forest, following a tour of one of Costa Rica’s dormant volcanoes. When their time was up in San Jose, the team got on a bus and drove four hours to the beautiful coast of Guanacaste. The team stayed at the four star Flamingo Beach & Spa Resort located directly on the beach. While in Guanacaste, the Blue Jays took on a local Guanacasten team where they came out victorious with a 4-2 win. Freshmen Trisha Clark, Lauren Berry, and Lauren Fredericks each tallied up a point in the match along with Junior Alex Topa. E-town controlled the middle of the park which ultimately led in their victory.
Living in a first world country, such as The United States, really makes a person think about how good they actually have it. In Guanacaste, the Blue Jays traveled to a local underprivileged K-6 school where they presented them with over $500 worth of school supplies. In 2009, Costa Rica had a devastating earthquake which led many homeless. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Guanacaste and the school had lost most of its buildings and supplies. The team provided 27 brand new soccer balls to the kids. The look on the faces of these small children was priceless. What the Elizabethtown College Women’s Soccer Team did for this school will forever change the way the kids live and how the team lives.
The team traveled back to San Jose for one last day to play their last friendly. They took on a team from Alajuela and again came out with a 4-0 win. After each game the Blue Jays named an MVP to which they presented an Etown Jersey. For Alajuela the Jays picked number 11. Presenting the jersey was Captain Trisha Clark. After the game the team packed up and went back to their hotel for a farewell dinner. With the help of Costa Rica Soccer Tours, this trip would not have happened.
In their first year of play, the Manheim Central ice hockey program did not win a single game; however, that does not mean that the season was filled with negatives. Under Coach Josh Nelson, the Manheim Central program was able to quickly learn the fundamentals of hockey. With a combined thirty skaters between the middle school and high school teams, Manheim Central is poised for improvement.
According to Coach Nelson, the best way to describe this past season: interesting. “Teaching the whole game and developing skills was a little more challenging than I thought it would be” said Nelson. The program featured many players who had never played hockey before. Some had never even played a sport according to Nelson, who coaches both the high school and middle school teams. Nelson’s wife, Danelle, manages both teams.
In the state of Pennsylvania, ice hockey is not a varsity sanctioned sport, meaning that the program is not funded by the Manheim Central school district. “When we first started out, we had to remind kids that we weren’t affiliated with the school” said Danelle.
Despite the setback, the Nelsons still received recruiting help from the school district. “The Superintendent and Principal have been great… just helping us get the word out there” said Danelle. The school handed out flyers to help promote the team last February. Outside of the school, the Manheim Central players did what they could to recruit and promote for the team. “[The players] were huge in promoting it for next year” said Nelson, who has seen an increase in interest from potential players.
Outside of recruiting obstacles, the majority of the program had little to no prior hockey experience. Of the thirty skaters, “only three had ever played before” admitted Nelson. Their first practice consisted of teaching players how to stand up on the ice. “[Josh] told me the first practice that if I come off the ice, turn me around, send me back in and shut the door” joked Danelle.
Mostly every practice this season was devoted to skating. “[The players] got bored with it, but you could tell by the end of the season that they were really starting to get it” said Nelson.
Despite losing every game, both the high school and middle school teams never gave up. “I told them from the beginning not to expect to win any” said Nelson, who urged players to build on their own skills and team skills. While this mentality may seem unorthodox, both teams bought in and worked on improving their skills and remaining positive over winning. “[The high school team] won one period the entire season and you would have just thought we won the Stanley Cup” laughed Nelson.
Originally, the Manheim Central high school team featured nine skaters; however, that number grew to twelve skaters during the season. Of those twelve skaters, three will graduate this year. The middle school team had eighteen skaters this past season.
With the team continuing to grow, the Manheim Central fan base began to take notice. “The first couple of games, you didn’t see anybody but the parents sitting in the stands” said Nelson, who claims that the fan base grew as the knowledge of the team increased. Thanks to this growing fan base, the program has received more general interest.
According to Nelson, “the biggest thing this year was to grow the program and retain the players we have.” At the end of the season, Nelson asked his players how many of them planned on returning next season. By a show of hands, the majority of the program looks to come back next season. Down the line, the Nelsons would like to see more players in the program. “I’d like to see some of the Manheim kids at younger ages get into it before the high school level” said Nelson.
While skating and basic knowledge has improved, Nelson hopes that the team will continue to work over the off-season. “We have probably half of our kids coming to play roller hockey at East Pete[rsburg] with us” said Danelle. The program is currently looking at starting on ice practices in August and off ice work outs in July.
Above all else, the main goal of the program is to have each player enjoy their hockey experience. “We talked to parents and kids all season, and no one had anything negative” said Nelson. With enjoyment comes a love for the game. Throughout the year, Nelson made sure to remind his players that “hockey is one of these sports that you can play forever.”
For more information on the Manheim Central ice hockey program, you can visit the them online at http://www.manheimcentralicehockeyclub.com/
Podcast version: Manheim Central Ice Hockey