For most student-athletes they work their whole life attempting to master their respective sports to get to the collegiate level. But imagine playing a collegiate sport you have never played before against players with extensive experience. For Pacific University senior Anna VanderWeyst, this was the task she faced when deciding to join the women’s lacrosse team.
VanderWeyst played four years for the Pacific volleyball team where she played a key role as a defensive specialist. When this year’s lacrosse team was in need of players, VanderWeyst was recruited by her best friend and team captain of the team, to join the team.
“We always joked about playing together and after volleyball season was over, I was more seriously considering joining the team,” VanderWeyst said. “And ultimately I knew I was going to miss the team aspect of playing a sport, along with the competitiveness.”
For athletes competing in any new sport, there will be some challenges they must face, and VanderWeyst was no exception, as she says she had never heard much about lacrosse before coming to Pacific.
“The biggest challenge I have faced in lacrosse is basically learning the sport from scratch and I still do not know all the rules,” VanderWeyst said. “Another big obstacle, is overcoming the amount of cardio required. In volleyball you stay on the same side of the court, so I am still adjusting to running 100 yards back and forth for 60 minutes.”
In the Pacific Northwest, another aspect athletes deal with is the ever-changing weather. As VanderWeyst transitioned from an indoor sport to an indoor sport, she was faced with yet another adjustment as she acclimated to the weather.
“The first two months of practice and playing, I felt like a wet dog,” VanderWeyst said. “I swear every practice the temperature was below 45 degrees and either rainy or windy and compared to the nice warm and cozy gym, it definitely tested my confidence in sticking with the sport.”
Although she is facing many hurdles in her transition to a new sport, she is adjusting quickly and even scored a goal against conference rival Puget Sound University on March 10. Despite the team having a bit of a down year, VanderWeyst knows that it takes time and patience to build a winning program and is looking to contribute to this year’s team anyway she can.
“My years of volleyball helped me realize the importance of building a good sports program because with each year with the volleyball program I believe we grew and developed an amazing team culture to be successful,” VanderWeyst said. “Although I would say the lacrosse team is currently in a rebuilding year, I know my role in my one season is to be all that I can for the team, so the returners and incoming players can continue to develop a strong program here at Pacific.”