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Where some see struggle and turmoil, head coach Kristen Need sees positivity and hope as her Prout girls lacrosse team embarks on their 2013 schedule.
It has been a rough go for the Crusaders since they made the jump to Division I prior to the 2011 season.
With just six wins since, Prout is still looking for its first winning season at the stateâ€™s top level.
At 1-1 so far this year, 2013 could finally be the spring Prout breaks through.
â€śItâ€™s looking great,â€ť says Need of her teamâ€™s start. â€śWe have a lot of returning talent and weâ€™re positive about the season thus far, working hard on the little things.
â€śWeâ€™re looking to pick ourselves up by the boot straps and take on the season.â€ť
One of the biggest challenges the Crusaders have faced in recent years is an instability at the top of their program.
Though she has worked with the squad for the past six seasons as an assistant, this spring Need is stepping up to take over the coaching reigns. It is the third coaching change in the past four season.
While the coaching turnstile may have taken its toll on the team for a given season, Need feels it is something that may be able to help Prout this season as the players can draw upon a myriad of different experiences they have gone through dealing with so many different coaching philosophies.
â€śItâ€™s been turbulent with three coaches in four years and thatâ€™s been tough on [the team],â€ť Need says. â€śA [positive of all the change] is theyâ€™ve had three very different people and learned a lot from everybody. Theyâ€™ve been exposed to pretty much everything.â€ť
The Crusaders success this season will start at the back and work its way forward, as Proutâ€™s defensive core will be the teamâ€™s strength.
Senior captains Clare Griffin, Devyne Doran and Rachel Thomas will anchor the defense.
All four-year players with the program, the captains, along with the rest of the senior class, bring experience to the top of the line up and a desire to finish their career on a strong note following a couple of down seasons.
â€śMy senior class has been a part of the program for four years,â€ť says Need, â€śand they want to go out feeling good about their performance and as a cohesive team.â€ť
While the seniors anchor the back end, junior Abby Lyons has taken charge of the Prout offense.
Lyons has totaled five goals and four assists in the first two games and her nine points are three times more than anyone else on the roster.
â€śIâ€™m very excited to see Abby step in so quick,â€ť says Need of the junior midfielderâ€™s start.
â€śSheâ€™s very aggressive and I love that about her. I think sheâ€™s a good role model on the field, trying to get the other players to be as assertive as she is in front of the net. Hopefully she can spark our offense a little bit.â€ť
With Lyons leading the attack, Need will lean on her senior core to help tighten the Crusaders game this season.
As long as the team is able to play a fundamental game and avoid â€śtoo many blatant mistakes,â€ť all signs point to what could be a strong year for Prout girls lacrosse.