Ida B. Wells Women’s Lacrosse: What to Expect from the 2023 Season


Thomas Gravely (he/him), Staff Writer

As Spring sports kick off, the Ida B. Wells Women’s Lacrosse Team is back in full swing and is preparing for an exciting season. Here’s what some of the players say as they lead up to their first game on March 16th at Cleveland.

What would you want the rest of the students to know about the team?

Women’s lacrosse doesn’t tend to get the same recognition as other sports, due to the fact it’s club. The general feeling on the team is that they’d like to be taken more seriously. “I think the biggest thing for us is like we really want people to appreciate us as a real sport,” said Olivia Kozitza, a midfielder and University of Oregon commit. “I think it’s hard because we are taking a club sport that is a lot of times overlooked.”

 “This is like a program on the rise right now… this year and last year, we’re seeing a lot of growth from the program which is really awesome,” said Rian Elken, a soon-to-be team captain. The club may have started small, but it’s continuing to grow, which is very exciting for the future of the program.


What’s one goal you have for yourself this season?

The team has proved to have a very family-like dynamic, and many of the girls are looking to further strengthen it. “I want my goal to be building myself more as a support system for other people on the team instead of creating constant judgment because I do tend to get very competitive and I think that this year would be a good time to start focusing on building those connections even more,” said Ryder Cullen-Musengo, an attack player.  “One goal I have for myself is to just really support my teammates and uplift others,” said Elken, reflecting a similar sentiment.

And of course, other players are also seeing the season as an opportunity to get even more skilled. “I just want to know that I’ve put in a ton of effort…  I just want to become even more of a well-rounded player and just literally just get better,” said Kozitza.


What’s the biggest thing you learned last season?

Being the first year back from COVID, the 2022 season was a great learning experience for the players. “Last season, I really learned that it’s very important to build a team environment and communication between [teammates] because it doesn’t really work if you only have one girl doing everything,” said Elken. Cullen-Musengo expanded on the team dynamic. “I think the transition going into school lacrosse was learning how to enjoy the sport less as a competition and more as a family and as a team.”

There were also lots of new players on the team, with it being the first year back in person. Kozitza talks about her experiences as a leader for these players: “[I learned] a lot of leadership, not necessarily from my captain perspective, but just on the field as a player. Because we were such a young program, we had a lot of new players. So just like learning how I can be there as a teammate.”


In general, what are your expectations for this season?

Considering the relative newness of the program, one of the goals the players have for the season is to further build the team’s foundation. “I’m really hoping that we can establish a very solid program this season in order to move forward the next few years to keep the program alive and going because that’s definitely been a struggle in the past,” said Elken. 

Especially considering the high number of seniors that are playing their last season, it’s important to set a precedent and find skilled and committed younger players. “I think starting from the ground up and learning the basics and getting everyone on a really good [level] before the games start is really what I think should happen first so that we can have a good ground level and a way to build the club up from there,” said Cullen-Musengo.

Kozitza is also hoping to see progress this season, not just in the club but in the team’s relationships. “[I think] just going out and developing throughout the season. I think that from the first game to the last game we can see a lot of progress.” She also added, “I think this year there’s so much opportunity to really bond as a team and become really close and play better.”


What’s your favorite part of the team, and what are you excited about?

While winning games and improvement are big goals, the club is also just excited to play. “My favorite part of the team is probably how at practice we can all just have fun and it’s very light-hearted,” said Kozitza. “I’m just super excited to just be able to get out there and play. Even if we’re not winning games and stuff we just love to play.” 

Many of the team members also share the sentiment that their fellow teammates are just as great as the game. “My favorite part about the team is that the coaches have built such a good support system for everyone and that we just have time to all just do what we love,” said Cullen-Musengo. Elken also added, “My favorite part of the team is honestly the girls. I’m really excited to see them play out on the field because I think it’ll be great.”

While a fairly new and developing program, the women’s lacrosse team is full of very talented and motivated players. Whether or not you’ve ever seen a lacrosse game before, you should come out and support the players and enjoy the game. As Kozitza puts it, “Come out to games. Support your women’s lacrosse team. Go Guardians.”