By Albert Monge, Contributing Writer (Courtesy photo/Bison Athletics)
The Oklahoma Baptist University lacrosse team has been through quite the whirlwind in the 2017-2018 season.
Under the direction of Coach Jordan Beech, who is in his third season on the top seat, the Lady Bison have broken numerous school records, and have even led the country in statistics such as caused turnovers per game.
Last year, the team graduated nine seniors, some of whom were leaders in overall production and some statistical categories.
Returning only three seniors, the Lady Bison had high hopes for their first season as full participants in Division II.
Senior Allison Ingrim is a four year-starting midfielder from St. Louis, Missouri.
“We’ve worked really hard and done the best that we could to play at the DII level,” Ingrim said.
Ingrim is one of the returning seniors and also one of the statistical leaders for the team, ranking first in caused turnovers (32), second in ground balls (29) and third in draw controls (39).
As a leader both on and off the field, Allison said she felt like she needed to take this season to be a leader by example with such a young team.
Not only is the context of the team young, but there are a few girls on the team who have never played lacrosse before.
Brooke Harden, Anastasia Mendoza, and Monique Mossop are just a few of the newcomers to the team, as well as to the sport.
Sophomore Lauren McCormack is a native of Allen, Texas and a two-year starter on the squad. She has made quite the impression on Bison Hill in her time here.
“I want all the new girls and the freshman to know that I see them working really hard and that they’re making me work harder,” McCormack said.
She holds the record for draw controls per game (4.28), assists per game (0.88), and is tied with Ingrim for all-time assists (22).
McCormack, who plays attack, saw this season as a transitional year for the team, and said she felt there is a lot of room for growth, with the loss of some key players that were a part of the team last year.
The team took their annual trip to Colorado over spring break and saw more success than they had seen previous years.
Emily Bontekoe, senior defender from Howell, Michigan, talked about the trip and said, “Compared to previous years, I think we did a lot better. We were able to get a couple wins in, and it kept up the mentality.”
The Lady Bison “mentality” described here must be one of success, with the team racking up multiple different broken records in their trip to Colorado. These would include most points in a game (37), assists (12) and draw controls (22).
This trip would include some personal success in the record-breaking area as well, with McCormack break-ing the career assist record (21), set by Emily Gilbert, who played from 2014-2017.
Sophomore Breanna Wichert broke the record for most points in a game (12), previously set by Alexis Martin.
And finally, Ingrim tied the record for draw controls in a single game (11), set before by McCormack.
With the great success, there came some drawbacks.
The squad saw some injuries to key players, including Wichert and Ingrim both getting concussions in the same game, and McCormack battling a nagging foot injury.
This would leave the women with no substitutions for the last game they played in Colorado, which is a major setback that the team had to deal with.
Luckily, the team will have a two-week break between games, hopefully allowing for some those injuries to heal.
The Lady Bison Lacrosse team will finish the 2017-2018 with a five-game stretch. The team looks to overcome the four-win barrier that has plagued them over the last few years of the Division II era.
Bontekoe said she sees an opportunity to make this season different.
She saw her senior season as an opportunity to have fun, in the leadership role of being a senior, and a four-year starter on such a young team.
With high hopes for the rest of the season, the Lady Bison must go on the road for their next four games before concluding the season at home against Lindenwood at the OBU Lacrosse Complex, which will also be their senior night, Saturday, April 28, at 1 pm.