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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

‘Most excited I’ve been’: Pitt lacrosse gears up for its third season

Pitt+women%E2%80%99s+lacrosse+players+huddle+up+during+a+game+against+Duke+at+Highmark+Stadium+on+Sunday%2C+March+26%2C+2023.
Kaylee Uribe | Staff Photographer
Pitt women’s lacrosse players huddle up during a game against Duke at Highmark Stadium on Sunday, March 26, 2023.

As the spring season inches closer, both athletes and fans are gearing up to get back to playing and watching the sports they love. 

Pitt lacrosse knows this feeling of eagerness all too well. The team has a lot it wants to prove in these upcoming months, and it’s ready to see some results of the hard work it has put in during the offseason. 

Junior midfielder Jill Fenech is excited to start the season. Fenech said the team has worked hard in the offseason and believes 2024 is the Panthers’ year to finally shine.

“This is the most excited I think I’ve been for a season,” Fenech said. “I think that our team is really clicking — we’re more fit than we’ve ever been, our stick work is better than it’s ever been, and I think we’re gonna have a really good year.” 

Pitt women’s lacrosse was established in 2020 and played its inaugural season in the spring of 2022, making it one of the newest teams in the division. 

Junior attacker Jenna Hendrickson, who’s played on the team since its inaugural season, has seen the program’s growth firsthand. Hendrickson said the team continues to improve and has come a long way since that first season. 

“We’re always building, this season really is going to give us an opportunity to showcase how far we’ve come with it only being our third year,” Hendrickson said. “We’ve been working on a lot, and we’re going to continue building not just to improve our team, but for the future of this program.” 

Senior defender Abby Thorne knows there’s a lot of potential to improve this year. 

“Every year, we’ve shown growth,” Thorne said. “This is the most excited I’ve been for a season. I know we’ve worked so hard this offseason, and I’m hoping we can get a lot more ACC wins under our belt. I wanna start surprising the hell out of these top teams.”

But shocking the ACC is no small feat. The Panthers will face off against the nation’s best teams in conference play, including No. 2 Boston College on Feb. 24 and No. 3 Syracuse on April 6. While the Panthers are set to compete against a lot of top-tier competition, there’s one team they specifically have an eye out for — Clemson.

“Clemson’s gonna be a good one,” Fenech said. “It’s pretty competitive between us because we’re both new programs, and both of us want to prove something.” 

The Tigers walloped the Panthers 17-7 last season. But Thorne said the team has grown since that defeat and is hoping for a better reason when Pitt faces Clemson again on April 20.

“I personally want to stick it to Clemson,” Thorne said. “We didn’t have the best showing against them last year, but the way our team has developed and the connection we share, I think it’s something we have over them.” 

While taking on the competitive ACC will prove difficult, the Panthers’ palpable chemistry will surely keep their spirits high. The connection that this team shares is one of the biggest strengths of Pitt lacrosse. Fenech touched on how this plays into the working of their team as a whole. 

“This is the best chemistry I’ve seen our team have in the preseason,” Fenech said. “We’re really so lucky that we get along as well as we do, and it has made us better players. I’ve found a really good second family.” 

Thorne also feels strongly about her teammates, saying they are like family to her. 

“We’re a team that even when we’re forced to be with each other 24/7 we choose to be with each other because we genuinely love and care about each other like a family,” Thorne said. “It really helps us on and off the field.”

Along with the positive culture developing within the team, Pitt lacrosse has the City and the University backing them up. 

“I think it’s really brought a positive atmosphere to the University,” Hendrickson said. “Professors and other students have shown their excitement, and it really shows that people are supporting our journey.” 

Pitt lacrosse kicks off their season on Feb. 9 against Duquesne at Highmark Stadium. Fenech is excited for fans to experience some live play. 

“It’s such a different sport that maybe people aren’t familiar with or didn’t play growing up, but it’s super fun to watch and it’s exciting that as the team keeps growing and getting better,we’re hopefully gonna get more people out there.” Fenech said.

About the Contributor
Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer