What work goes into building a championship team?
Since the 2000 season, the women's lacrosse program has claimed three national titles, won 11 Centennial Conference titles, and competed in the NCAA playoffs 18 times.
For the last several years, the team has adhered to a deceptively simple but effective tradition: pick one word to guide you through the season.
From senior All-American Katie Landry '18 (THIRST) to first year attacker Brianna Stokes '21 (HEART), each member of the team, coaches included, selects a single word to serve as a guide through the year. This word serves as a reminder of what is most important.
Commit. Belief. Grit. Heart. Perseverance.
Those were just a handful of the guide words chosen by members of the Gettysburg College women's lacrosse team heading into the 2018 season.
"The word they select is for them, but they also share it with the team and coaches so we all can help them stay accountable to living by their word," said Head Coach Carol Cantele '83, who chose "DANCE" as her word for 2018, "I believe that it has been pretty powerful and has made an impact on the players."
Over the last two seasons, Gettysburg built upon the foundation of those words and climbed to the top of the NCAA Division III lacrosse world. After winning the program's second national title in 2017, the Bullets became just the second team in the last 11 years to repeat as national champion this past May, defeating Middlebury College, 11-9, in the title game at Kerr Stadium on the campus of Roanoke College.
During that course of time, it has taken a collection of different individuals to reach those lofty heights, but ultimately that success has been focused on one particular word chosen by junior defender Brooke Holecheck '19 in 2018 - Champion.
#3 Liza Barr '20 - Attack
Sophomore Liza Barr ’20 led Gettysburg with a career-high five goals in the national title game against Middlebury. Barr had posted just six goals in the previous four playoff games combined. Barr is the daughter of Gettysburg alum and All-American defensive back Brian Barr ’86, who led the 1985 football team to the national semifinals and was inducted into the Hall of Athletic Honor in 2006. Barr was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section this summer.
#1 Steph Colson '19 - Midfield
Steph Colson ’19 was named Most Outstanding Performer of the NCAA Championship for the second year in a row. Colson tallied nine draw controls in each of the final two wins, capping a record-breaking season on the draw.
The junior midfielder shattered the program and Centennial Conference records with 140 draw controls this year. She was named the inaugural IWLCA Division III Player of the Year, Midfielder of the Year, All-America First Team, All-Metro Region First Team, and All-CC First Team. Colson was also a finalist for the coveted Honda Division III Athlete of the Year award.