Lacrosse defender Zoe Taylor Talks Life and Goals as a Panther
“I got kicked out of ballet class when I was really little because they told me to jump over [a] stuffed bunny,” says freshman Panther lacrosse defender Zoe Taylor. “I kicked [the bunny] because I was like, ‘This is dumb.’ So, my parents pulled me out and put me in karate.”
Thankfully for Taylor, women’s lacrosse at BSC is not for the faint of heart. Just this spring, Taylor finished her first season at ’Southern after several bruises, pasta nights, and midweek runs. While spring 2017 may have been Taylor’s first time playing for the Panthers in-season, she actually bonded with her team during their off-season last fall when they underwent intense daily conditioning, resting once every six days as a sort of legal Sabbath for their agile bodies.
“Any real growth you have in-season happens off-season during conditioning," Taylor says. “Honestly, I get fat during season because we don’t condition everyday like we do in fall ball. If we did, our legs would be gassed.”
In women’s lacrosse, legs are one of the most important muscle groups to train. Unlike men’s lacrosse, where contact is allowed and often violent, intentional contact in women’s lacrosse is prohibited. This difference leads to a greater emphasis on finesse.
Running is extremely important in the sport, especially for defenders like Taylor. Players need calves strong enough to keep their legs planted on the ground, but also flexible enough to burst into light-footed sprints when necessary. The training is time-consuming, but well-worth it at the end of a successful season. Taylor says that regular season champions get a ring. “You also get a ring if your team record is winning,” says Taylor.
These flashy metal bands are certainly coveted, but before broad team victories come small, personal triumphs pieced together to influence the entire team. Panthers assistant coach Coach Logan emphasizes the importance of these individual goals every practice session. Her constant reminders encourage Taylor to remain focused on the little priorities that ultimately affect the performance of the entire team.
“I know everyone says this, but truly, this team is a family. We do everything together,” laughs Taylor. “We have a Snapchat, a GroupMe, a weekly pasta night. I know if I'm in trouble, all of them will help. The understanding and support help us on field because to play a sport, you have to trust people. There is a lot of trust.”
One way the lacrosse team encourage this trust is by using the “big” and “little” system. “Bigs,” seasoned team members, are assigned as mentors to their “littles," players new to the team. These pairs often develop close friendships that would be unlikely to occur otherwise.
“Lacrosse players are badass,” says Taylor. “I wouldn't mess with them if they weren't my teammates.”
Taylor came to BSC because of lacrosse, and when she is not studyingfor her biology major, she can be found training with her lax sisters, sharing memes and memories. As Taylor describes it, they may seem like a group of aggressive girls with anger issues, but they're really just a fun bunch who love life, each other, and BSC lacrosse with a passion.
“I wouldn't go here if it wasn't for lacrosse,” says Taylor. As for next season, Taylor plans “to go in and give it all we have.” In the process, she also plans to win some rings.
Feature photo via BSC Athletics