Cav rosters: small but mighty

By Gekeya Pinder
September 26, 2023

A Cabrini women's soccer in their home white uniforms player dribbles the ball up the sideline of Edith Robb Dixon field in a non-conference matchup against Eastern University
Natalie Morris, junior midfielder, playing against Eastern. Photo by Gekeya Pinder.

It is still a team even if it’s small.

After the shock the 2023-2024 academic year being the last for Cabrini University, athletes are now coping with a season of small rosters.

The start of a small season

The women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams are playing through the changes.

There are 16 players on the field hockey team now, losing eight players from the 2022 season. While lacrosse has lost two players from the 2022 season, with 23 players on the team now.

Coach Jackie Neary. Photo by Gekeya Pinder.

Women’s field hockey and lacrosse head coach Jackie Neary said, “That was the big unknown this summer when the news came out: the size of the squad.” Despite the changes with both squads, Neary sticks to her motto, “Little team, big heart.”

But rather than being worried about the size of her team roster, she is excited about the season ahead, field hockey also leaves reason for excitement, as their record is currently four to one.

Teams’ awareness

In this final year, athletes are focusing on the good rather than the bad.

Abigail Fenton, senior women’s lacrosse goalkeeper, said, “We all want to play out this last year for each other and especially for Coach Neary, who has worked to build the women’s lacrosse team from the ground up.”

Daly Ewing, senior women’s field hockey forward, said, “We all know it’s the last year and all we want to do is do well for ourselves, the team, and the coach.”

Neary agreed. “The awareness is that it is coming to an end,” she said.

That awareness is strong, but the competition and wanting to win is stronger.

Challenges and advantages

Daly Ewing, senior forward, hitting the ball. Photo by David Morgan.

Neary explained how practices and games changed now that she has a small roster for field hockey. “We shorten up practices since it’s only 24 players on the team. We don’t want to wear the girls out. A good thing about a small squad is a lot of girls are getting more touches, and getting more time with the ball.”

Fenton said, “Having a smaller team allows us to get more reps at practice and benefits us because we are all able to become so close. We tend to be a really close team and have fun hanging out with each other off and on the field which is a big factor to our success.”

“The challenges are going to be assets at the end for us when it comes to playing the game,” Ewing said. “The team’s mentality is definitely different, but we are working our way through it.”

Athletes’ futures

Ewing’s future plans changed when she learned this would be her last year of playing for Cabrini. “I will not be continuing my athletic career after Cabrini’s closing. My plan was to do a fifth year before the news broke out. After this year, I am not sure. I will be making the best of it for the last time,” she said.

Fenton spoke on her plans as well. “With this being my senior year, I do not plan on continuing my athletic career after this. I do have an extra year of eligibility that I could use but I can’t imagine going to a new school to play lacrosse with a different group of girls or for a new coach,” she said.

“The culture that Coach Jackie Neary has built here at Cabrini is one of a kind and that cannot be replicated anywhere else,” she continued. “There is only one way that I want to end my lacrosse career and it is playing for coach Neary with my best friends next to me wearing Cabrini across our chests.”


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Gekeya Pinder

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