DENVER – Buy in. Step up. Be a great teammate.
That's what Mallory Bahr is looking for as she begins her second year leading the Johnson & Wales University women's lacrosse team.
The Wildcats return six starters and welcome in seven freshmen for its inaugural season as a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Senior captain Katie Smith is among the half-dozen returning starters and says the chance to be part of a league – the SCAC is sponsoring women's lacrosse for the first time since 2012 – adds plenty of intrigue.
"It's exciting being able to branch out more and see some new places, play new people," Smith said. "It's definitely something we're all excited about."
Along with Smith, JWU brings back Ashley Guerrero, who led the team with 23 goals in 2018, Jennifer Aragon (defense), Oguljennet Kurbandurdyyeva (defense), Abril Rodriguez (attack) and Kaitlyn Warner (attack).
"I stress, 'Get better every day,'" said Bahr, whose program is in its fourth year. "All of our athletes are like, 'OK, we're a new team coming into this league, coming into Division III, we're not playing the same old teams. Buy in, step up and be a great teammate.' That's what we've stressed this season, and we're excited."
After having their season opener Feb. 17 against Adams State was postponed, the Wildcats will open up Feb. 24 at Williamette, part of a four-game, seven-day road trip that includes stops in Salem, Oregon; Walla Walla, Washington; Spokane, Washington; and Newberg, Oregon.
JWU will host Puget Sound and Marian (Wisc.) March 19 and 20 at Aurora Sports Park before heading back out on the road for five straight. The Wildcats then return for consecutive home games April 16 and 20 against Loras and Dallas. The SCAC Championship Tournament hosted by Colorado College is set for March 26-29 in Colorado Springs.