First Recruiting Class Paves the Way
Senior captain Paula Badali and fellow seniors look to lead team in 2013 season.
Senior captain Paula Badali and fellow seniors look to lead team in 2013 season.

Nov. 7, 2012

By Kasandra Martinson

FRESNO, Calif. - After its inaugural season, the Fresno State lacrosse program brought in its first recruiting class of Bulldogs in the fall 2009. In preparation of its second year of competition, the program brought in girls from the east coast where lacrosse is more prevalent. This class consisted of girls from Ohio, Georgia, New York and Maryland, as well as a few girls from Oregon and California.

While building the program during the Bulldogs' first two years their success was not evident in the record books, though their hard work did not go unnoticed. When many would have turned the other way, these 'Dogs stayed and fought with determination to bring success to Bulldog lacrosse.

Their perseverance paid off on March 17, 2012 when the lacrosse team earned their first victory at home against Long Island outscoring the Blackbirds 17-12. The 'Dogs went on to win two more games in their 2012 season, including their first conference win in double overtime at UC Davis.

The class of ten seniors is now preparing for their final season in a Bulldog uniform, and has high hopes of building on their success from last year.

"There has been so much growth both on and off the field for this senior class in the past year," said head coach Jessica Pausewang. "Their growth into seniors and true leaders on this team is one of our driving forces to be an even more competitive program than last year."

Strong leadership has been key to team success is the past for the 'Dogs. Senior captains, Natalie Harrington, Sara Weber, Lauren Natale and Paula Badali look to fill that role for the 2013 season.



"Our four captains really balance each other out. We have two captains returning with Natalie and Sara and with the addition of Lauren and Paula we are confident that our leadership will continue to grow our success," said Pausewang. "Each of these captains shines in their own unique ways but also compliment each other. They bring us together as a coaching staff and as players to have one common vision, winning the MPSF championship."

With the feeling of victory fresh in their veins, the captains hope to keep the momentum of last year, while focusing on strong team goals.

"We want to keep everyone motivated and keep everyone focused," said Badali. "Work on our team goal which is to go to the MPSF tournament, and just win a lot more games this year."

With the support of the strong senior class, the captains hope to lead their team to more success on the field this year.

"It's awesome because we have such a good bond," said Natale. "It is the ten that have stuck together through all the hard times, and now we are experiencing the good times."

Returning captain, Weber is looking forward to getting out on the field again with her teammates and enjoying her last year as a Fresno State Bulldog.

"All of us have such a connection and chemistry on the field and I think it's really going to show in the upcoming season," said Weber. "We are all really close and have grown and been through a lot together and our senior season is going to be awesome."

This class of ten seniors, Weber, Harrington, Natale, Badali, Taylor Fiehler, Sarah Weeks, Vanessa Swalwell, Katie Wilbur, Sophie Walker and Margaret Wolford helped build the Fresno State lacrosse program from the ground up. They hope that their legacy carries through the program long after they are gone.

"I want our legacy to be known as the first class that got recruited here," said Harrington. "For people to think, wow those girls improved so much in those four years and laid down that foundation."

The Bulldogs kick off their 2013 season on the road playing Presbyterian on a neutral site in Los Angeles, Calif. on February 17, 2013.

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