Zack Peñalva, Sports Editor
The women’s’ lacrosse team added two new coaches this year to work as assistants under head coach Rich Manieri. After the team’s inaugural season last year, Manieri chose to bring in two new coaches in order to continue the growth of the program both on and off the field.
““When you’re only one voice, sometimes players can get tired of hearing the same voice all the time. For the better part of two years they’ve heard mostly my voice,” said Manieri. At the beginning of the season, Megan Rogers and Nicki Stewart both joined the coaching staff and Manieri has praised their involvement with the team so far.
“Both are tremendously helpful in terms of game management, substitutions, dealing directly with individual players…Megan and Nicki have brought something different to the program. A different perspective, a different voice, a new pair of ears for people to talk to.”
Stewart’s addition to the team was a perfect match.She lives nearby with her family and husband Josh Stewart, the head coach of the men’s lacrosse program. More importantly, she brings plenty of lacrosse experience.
Growing up in Maryland meant exposure to the sport from a young age. “I think the youngest clinic I remember [seeing] was probably five-year-olds,” Stewart said. After playing through high school, she opted out of playing in college. Joining the coaching staff has been a welcome return to the game.”As soon as I started [coaching], it’s like a passion’s been reignited, it’s been so much fun. I’ve loved it.”
“[Nicki] has been doing a great job for us, working a lot with the defense,” Manieri said.
Rogers is a Nicholasville local that was recommended to Manieri by some of the Asbury faculty. Though she doesn’t have a lacrosse background, Manieri praised the knowledge she brought to the team in terms of athletics and conditioning.
“She’s been working with the team on those things, in addition to being a spiritual mentor for them, Manieri said.” Rogers brings in a strong fitness background, she was a four-year member of the Eagles soccer team and now works as a firefighter in Nicholasville.
In an environment that as high a value on the spiritual as it does the athletic, both Rogers and Stewart has quickly integrated into the team. “They’re really involved in just about every level,” Manieri said. “Not only with physical skills…both have held devotions and bible studies for the girls.”
“I had the girls over for pancake breakfast before they left for break…when people have their feet under your table you really get to know them,” Stewart said. “[Lacrosse] is just a piece of their lives, there’s so much more to each of them.”
In what has been a rocky start to the season so far, the Eagles will definitely be in need of strong leadership as they look to continue building and paving the way for Asbury’s youngest sports team. “This is a very fresh team,” Stewart said. “A lot of the girls are new to the sport but that’s exciting because they’re not stuck in their ways…These girls are definitely starting to put two and two together and that’s been really fun to watch.”
The Eagles currently sit on a 2-8 record and will look to improve on that during their home game today at 6 p.m. against Columbia College.