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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

The Perfect Balance

The Westfield State women’s lacrosse team has held the MASCAC title for 4 consecutive years and has a 5th on its mind. This team has been the definition of consistent by establishing a winning culture. The Owl’s dominance made them the favorites to take home the title again, according to the MASCAC preseason polls.

In addition, these women have exemplified what it means to be student-athletes by recognition from the IWLCA with the Team Academic Award in 2021. This award shows these women’s dedication on the field and in the classroom. The requirements are a 3.2 GPA or higher for the entire team. 

The women’s lacrosse team before the start of their Spring season. Image credits: @wsuowlswlax on Instagram.

Having a chance to speak with Head Coach Jeff Pechulis, he talked about what have been the keys to success for this team.

He stated, “We have a great team culture here. Teamwork is a key focus of our recruiting and the biggest aspect of our success here.”. This has undoubtedly been exemplified in the ability of this team to continuously take home MASCAC titles. This key to success has stood the test of time and developed into a winning culture here at Westfield State for the women’s lacrosse team. 

The continued success has been impactful for the Owls recruiting but, at the same time, presented a whole new set of challenges. Coach Pechulis mentioned, “It’s a catch 22 because as our talent level rises, so does the bar for the talent that we bring in. It’s not unusual for any of the recruits we bring in to go to a Division I team. Now, we’re going after recruits targeted by many Division 1 teams, which makes things a bit tougher.”.

With the ability to attract premier talent, Westfield State University shows why it is one of the top Division 3 schools. Competing with Division 1 schools in recruiting might be tough but should show just how good our university has become in the athletics department. 

The schedule for the women’s lacrosse team’s spring semester games. Image credits: @wsuowlswlax on Instagram.

The importance of academics to this team has something that should be noticed. These women mean business on the field and have the grades off the field to back it up.

Coach Pechulis spoke proudly about his team by saying, “To have a good GPA overall for the team was one of their main focuses. About 3-4 years ago, the team made it one of their top goals to have the highest team GPA on campus and had succeed. They collectively help each other as a team to achieve this success. It shows strong leadership and a true understanding of what they’re here for.”. The ability to showcase success in the classroom has become a staple in the women’s lacrosse team. This team truly has the perfect balance. 

Pechulis went even further to say that the seriousness of his team’s academic success has even been a strong pitch towards their recruitment. He stated, “These types of things help tie to recruiting, because not only do the players hear about it, but then the parents catch wind of this, and they love it. They understand the benefits of having team support in their academics.”.

This area needs to be highlighted more and is an underappreciated aspect of college sports. How Coach Pechulis stays motivated is simple, it’s all about his team and staff. 

He smiled when asked and said, “It’s the team and the staff. I love going to practice, seeing my players, and hearing about their day. Some will talk about clinical they have coming up or a lab they had earlier in the day, and it brings back memories of when I was first in school. They have a lot of fun. Some days, I will show up, and it’s wearing a wig day, dress like a basketball player day, or who knows what. They work extremely hard and give this program everything they have for the two hours were together every day.”. This is just another example of why this team is so unique and their bond with one another. 

A photo advertising their last game, which was away at Amherst College. Image credits: @wsuowlswlax on Instagram.

Success has brought out the best of the best and teams are eager to face the Owls this year. Coach Pechulis spoke about the bumpy start of the season, saying, “We had a crazy schedule this year because of our success. All the best teams in the Northeast wanted to play us. We had probably 4 of our toughest opponents that we ever had and played them in succession. 4 out of the last 5 games were against the top 25.”. This team is looking to rebound in a big way, having their first conference game this Saturday against longtime rival Bridgewater St. 

Showing confidence in his team, Coach Pechulis said on a final note, “Each year every team is different. This team has depth and a lot of talent. They are playing together as a unit, and once we get gelling, I think we’re going to do very well.”.

So be sure to come out and watch the excitement this weekend, while they play against Bridgewater State, and show them your support. GO OWLS! 

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