Emilia Ward, the women’s lacrosse coach, remembers her freshman year of college playing lacrosse and winning her teams NCAA conference tournament.
“I was able to get into that game as a freshman, and [that] doesn’t happen very often,” Ward said. “[it] was pretty memorable.”
Ward has been around lacrosse for 17 years, and loves how it combines many of her other interests.
“It blends a lot of the sports I’ve played between ice hockey and basketball, and I played soccer when I was younger…into one, and that makes it a lot of fun,” Ward said.
Ward joined the sport in high school after some of her basketball teammates talked her into picking up the sport.
“[I just] kinda just fell in love with it,” she said.
After working at Adrian College for a few years as an assistant coach, she knew that starting the lacrosse program here at Kalamazoo College would be a great way to start her head coaching career.
“Starting the program, getting to really build a culture alongside the players is a lot of fun” Ward said.
After working here for a year, she definitely notices a difference in the students she coached at Adrian and the students here.
“You get to coach a really motivated student, which is nice,” Ward said. “They are very inquisitive and ask a lot of questions, so you’re able to get into a different aspect of the game.
Her favorite part of coaching thus far has been watching the growth of students from the time they were a first year, to the time they are a senior. However, she notes that their maturity can create an issue in the beginning.
“When they’re young you’re dealing a lot with 17-21 year olds, so dealing with the bumps that go alongside in their life while they’re growing can be difficult,” Ward said.
Since the start of the program, Ward has begun to change as a coach.
“I’m a different coach than I even was last year,” she said. “Learning how each player on our team kind of clicks, how each one of them [responds] who likes you to be really hard on them and who needs a lot of positive reinforcement.
However, starting the new program has caused her to put extra effort into learning about the students.
“What made it tough here was that there was an entire team to learn versus when you’re at other programs you’re just learning that incoming class,” Ward said.
She has high hopes for the season after the team’s 2-0 start last year, and believes that the team has the talent to fight for the conference championship title.