March 12, 2009

Flash Point: St. Francis Looks for Wins

by Brian Logue | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

St. Francis (Pa.), the lone Division I team yet to play in 2009, ends that distinction when it heads to Niagara (2-2) today for a 4 p.m. game. There’s another distinction the Red Flash are much more interested in discarding — the nation’s longest losing streak.

St. Francis enters the 2009 season carrying a 48-game losing streak that dates back to an April 6, 2005 win over Robert Morris, but this hardly seems like the same old St. Francis, which has won just two games since the school began sponsoring women’s lacrosse in 2002.

“It’s not something we dwell on,” said head coach Steph Marcon. “My motto is the past is in the past and we’re the future. I definitely like a challenge.”

Marcon, a 2006 graduate of Lafayette where she was a goalie, knows the depth of the challenge. She began coaching in the 2007 season, the school’s fourth head coach in the program’s first six years of existence. She knows the only way to get better is through recruiting and she’s made major strides the last two years.

The Red Flash have 13 players in this year’s freshman class. They come from eight states and Canada, and Marcon has nine more commitments for next year.

This year’s class, highlighted by 5-foot-10 midfielder Kate Simmons from Delran, N.J., joins a nucleus of five returning starters. The returning starters include senior midfielder Meghan Crosby (team-high 20 goals), senior defender Corrine Smeak, and sophomore goalie Danielle Pokusa (144 saves).

“We’ve got a great group of upperclassmen, a great group of leaders that have really had open arms with our freshmen,” said Marcon. “It’s been nice to see that.”

While the lack of past success presents an obstacle in recruiting for Marcon, it also creates an opportunity.

“They have a chance to be a part of something and create something and make something out of this program,” said Marcon. “They’re coming to build a program.”

With the limited number of wins over the past few years, success can be defined in many ways.

“Coming away and having closer games like 10-8 or 15-10 will make me much happier,” said Marcon. “Learning and growing, that matters to me. I know that [success] will come.”

But it’s also clear she has much bigger hopes. A successful fall season, good leadership from the team's two seniors, solid goaltending, better speed and more offensive weapons has led to the team to set a goal of qualifying for the Northeast Conference playoffs.

For Marcon, however, the true measure of success in 2009 is much simpler.

“Winning games.”

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