Co-captains play as a team, win as a team
Three is the magic number for the co-captains of the women’s lacrosse team: three midfielders, three members of the CAA Commissioner’s List and three consecutive years in the CAA Tournament.
From the stands, the three senior co-captains seem more alike than different. But on the field, Hillary Fratzke, Lauren McAfee and Steph Taylor could not be any more unique.
“All of us for the most part are pretty laid back. We work well together and compliment each other with our strengths and weaknesses,” McAfee said. “We all do a little something different and it combines nicely.”
In terms of motivation strategy, McAfee said she holds the responsibility of getting the team excited to play, while Taylor and Fratzke play good cop, bad cop.
“Steph is the nice one and I’m the not so nice one,” Fratzke said. “I’m really blunt with people, and if something needs to get done on the field, I don’t hesitate to tell them. When she’ll be like ‘we’re doing really well,’ I’ll be like ‘but we need to do this better.”
Strong leadership is evident in the No. 2 seeded CAA team, which has only one conference loss, against the No. 1 seed James Madison Dukes, whom they would take on this weekend if both teams were to win their semi-final games.
“It was awesome breaking into the top 10, but if we don’t do anything this weekend, it isn’t going to mean much,” McAfee said. “It’s how you finish, not how you start.”
When it comes to their individual roles on the field, each Tiger has her own strength.
“Mac is more of an offensive midi, I’m more of a defensive midi and Hillary is all over the place, doing everything. She’s amazing,” Taylor said.
Fratzke was named co-captain after missing all but three games in the 2009 season, suffering a major knee injury against Loyola that ended her year. But the 2009 CAA preseason player of the year wouldn’t let an injury stop her from holding the longest active streak in NCAA Division I history, scoring at least one goal in 64 consecutive games.
Rising to the occasion took a different kind of offseason preparation for Fratzke.
“The difference between last offseason and the ones prior was that I was always all about getting into physical shape to get ready to play,” she said. “But this year it was more of a mental thing after not playing for a whole year, and you kind of worry about potentially getting hurt again.”
Fratzke’s co-captains said there was little difference in how they prepared for this year’s record-breaking season.
“Once she came back it all kind of fell into place,” Taylor said. “She just added her part and things worked really well together.”
Off the field, the co-captains make their mark on Towson University by different means. Taylor, who hails from Denver, Pa., serves as vice president for the University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and works as a mentor for the Tigers G.R.O.W.L. Mentor Program, which helps first year student-athletes transition to college life. McAfee, a sports management major, interned last summer with the Dew Action Sports Tour. And Fratzke volunteers at a local hospital to further her career goal of being a physician’s assistant.
–Andrew Constant contributed to this article.