BY Danielle Bernstein
The Stonehill women's lacrosse team will go through the 2012 season under circumstances different from any other women's lacrosse team in the NCAA — they'll have cameras capturing everything from the field to the locker room for a documentary, "113 Days," which is being produced by Stonehill alumni Katie Shannon.
Throughout the 2012 season, Shannon's film crew will be on the field with Stonehill, recording practices, games, interviews and team activities, giving an inside look into what a season in NCAA lacrosse is like. Coach Kate Conover saw the opportunity as a great way to get exposure for DII lacrosse and for her program while helping to grow the game, but was a little more hesitant about doing it once the finer details started to fall into place.
"Katie is an old teammate of mine so of course I would do anything to help her, but we had to think long and hard before we decided to do it," Conover said. "I think of us as our own little family with our own rules and I wasn't sure I wanted anyone else in there. I don't take for granted the personal relationships that we have, and I didn't know that was something I wanted to give everyone insight into."
The other factor was the concern that having cameras recording practices and constantly being around the players would be a distraction, and the coaching staff wanted to make sure it would have no negative influence on the way the team played or on the personalities of the players before agreeing to be a part of it.
"I didnt want anything from a lacrosse standpoint to change," Conover said. "I talked to the kids and basically said 'Think of yourself on your worst day. Are you sure you're going to want a camera there when you're at your very worst?'"
After careful consideration, the team and coaching staff agreed it wouldn't be a negative influence. Conover said that had one person expressed concern or an unwillingness to do it, she would have scrapped the idea, but everyone was on board.
"I hope the positives outweigh the negatives," Conover said. "At the end of the day, we thought it was a pretty special opportunity."
Through what Conover called a great preseason, the camera haven't been an issue — she says sometimes she thinks they've forgotten they're there. The team faces its first regular season opponent in Dowling on Wednesday in a game Conover says could be one of the biggest games of the year. Stonehill lost to Dowling 13-8 last season.
The Skyhawks return their top two attackers from last season in Samantha Lynott and Sarah Galligan, who are both leaders on the offensive end and will be expected to have productive seasons. Freshmen Cassandra McGill and Mikayla Couch made big strides in the offseason and add depth to the midfield. Couch has been battling a nagging injury and will most likely miss Wednesday's opener.
The defense will be extremely young, led by juniors Jessica Guisti and Katherine McDonough, who are the only returners to the unit. Freshmen Emily Faherty, Jillian Yung and Elizabeth Lane will be an immediate impact on the back line.
"We have three freshmen who are going to be a part of that starting group and will have to be productive," Conover said. "It's a bit of a scary thought but they've been very coachable. It's a work in progress."