Jan. 19, 2018
DENVER— With a year of collegiate lacrosse behind them and the 2018 season 22 days away, the University of Denver’s sophomore women’s lacrosse class looks to expand their roles this year. Made up of seven student-athletes, including a transfer in Molly Little, many saw playing time in their first season and will be called upon to take what they learned last season to build upon and contribute this season. They shared their first-year experiences of what they learned about being a collegiate student-athlete, their pregame rituals, their favorite part so far about being at DU, and what they are looking forward to this season.
1. What was the biggest takeaway or thing that you learned your first year (academically, athletically and/or socially)?
HD (Hayden Dean): The biggest thing I learned from my freshman year is that I belong on the team. Throughout the year, I personally struggled with my role on the team, my confidence in my skills, and my connection with my teammates caused by my heavy course load. With the help of the coaching staff and some of my teammates, I found my place on the team and will never question my belonging ever again.
CG (Carson Gregg): The biggest thing I learned freshman year was how to efficiently manage my time. Being on the road a lot in the spring you have to maximize the little free time you have; that’s why we always do homework on the plane.
EH (Eliza Hacke): The biggest takeaway I learned from my first year was the importance of all the relationships you make. Starting in a new place can be scary, but you create an entirely new network of friends and mentors.
RK (Rachel Karwacki): I learned that you should make the most out of every opportunity given to you. I’ve learned that things aren’t just given to you and if you want something bad enough and work hard enough that you can get to where you want to be.
ML (Molly Little): My biggest takeaway from my freshmen year was learning how to not be the best. Coming out of high school and then learning how to be a freshmen again and being on a team where everyone else was very talented was the most humbling experience I've ever had.
LM (Laura Milleker): I learned to not procrastinate, stay on top of my work before it built up and spread out assignments. Socially, it is difficult to step outside the athlete community, but it is very important to make friends in different groups. Athletically, putting your all into whatever you're doing- rehab, conditioning, lifting, anything- goes a long way and extra work is expected, not rewarded.
2. What has been your favorite part about being at DU so far?
HD: My favorite part about being at DU so far is the variety of science and math classes I have been able to take since I arrived. In high school, you had to take a balance of English, history, math, and science classes. As an engineer, it’s all math and science all the time, and I am LOVING it.
CG: My favorite part about DU by far is the amazing friends I’ve made. It’s crazy to think that last year I barely knew these girls and now they are my closest friends.
EH: So far, my favorite part about being at DU is the close bond I have made with all of my teammates. This group of girls becomes your family and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
RK: My favorite part about being at DU so far would have to be meeting such incredible people and how they have had such a great impact on me.
ML: My favorite part about being at DU is being able to hike and explore Colorado with my friends and teammates.
LM: I love being in an area where there is so much to do, both off campus and on. Being able to leave for a weekend and hike or ski keeps me really motivated.
3. Your favorite non-lacrosse moment while at DU:
HD: My favorite non-lacrosse moment at DU so far was during my freshman year. It was during the first quarter around early November. The school was experiencing its first snow of the winter season. I was in the engineering school working on a project with my friends for one of our classes. We ended up ditching the project and having a snowball fight on the 5th floor balcony of the engineering school.
CG: My favorite non- lacrosse memory at DU is either going on hikes with my roommates or having Ginza picnics in our dorms.
EH: My favorite non-lacrosse moment while at DU has to be when our hockey team won the national championship last year. It was an incredible feeling, watching as the final buzzer sounded and the streets of DU filled with students and excitement.
RK: I think my favorite non-lacrosse moment at DU would have to be just spending time with friends and exploring the different places that Denver has to offer.
ML: While they are my teammates, my favorite non-lacrosse moment that I've had has been becoming so close with everyone on the team here. Being a transfer, I was really nervous coming onto a brand new team with girls in my class who had already been together for a year and it was so great to have everyone be so welcoming and supportive of me right from the beginning.
LM: My favorite non-lacrosse moment thus far was probably going to the X Games in Aspen last year. It was an unbelievable experience.
4. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
HD: I currently do not have any superstitions or pregame rituals, but I had some in the past. Back in high school, I ate a soft pretzel before every lacrosse game. My dad would make it and deliver it to the field before every game.
CG: I’m not a superstitious person, so I don’t have any pregame rituals. I just put my headphones in and play whatever music I’m feeling at the time.
EH: While I don’t have any pregame rituals or superstitions from last year, I have a feeling this year that will change.
RK: The night before a game, I usually have a pretty big meal that includes a lot of protein, usually chicken, and a bunch of vegetables with a starch.
ML: I always wear my hair the same way for every game.
LM: Before a game, I always need to put earphones in and listen to my own music for a while even if the whole team is jamming in the locker room. I need to like jam silently by myself to Eminem.
5. What are you most looking forward to this season?
HD: I’m looking forward to all the memories I will be making with my teammates. It could be big wins during the season, or small jokes in the locker room. Those are the things you will remember when this season is long gone. I’m also looking forward to hopefully a rematch against Florida in the BIG EAST Conference Championship.
CG: I’m just looking forward to getting out on the field with my teammates. We had such a successful fall ball and I can’t wait to see all the work we’ve been putting in translate into wins this season.
EH: This year, I am most definitely looking forward to all of the great things our team will accomplish, including making it to the BIG EAST finals once again.
RK: I think I am most looking forward to just enjoying the people I am with and trying my hardest at everything that’s put in front of me.
ML: I'm really looking forward to competing against, and being challenged by, other teams and continuing the great season the team had last year.
LM: I'm looking forward to being able to actually play this season, because I was out all last year with an injury. I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be healthy again.
The Pioneers open the 2018 campaign at 1 p.m. MT on Feb. 10 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium against Stanford.
Fans interested in making a donation to the women’s lacrosse program can do so by CLICKING HERE. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
Student-Athlete Alumni Giving Challenge:
In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:
Athletics Development Office
Attn: Kaley Rickert
2201 E. Asbury Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
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