CONWAY — Coastal Carolina kicked off its inaugural women’s lacrosse season Friday afternoon against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Brooks Stadium.
The result, however, wasn’t exactly what the Chanticleers had hoped for as they lost 13-8.
Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives the school took from the opener.
Freshman midfielder Paige Timberg scored the program’s first goal in the second minute, freshman attacker Keri White had a hat trick and Coastal hung in with the Bearcats for most of the game.
“I’m pretty proud of the way they came out,” Coastal Carolina coach Jaime Sellers said. “The way they came out in the first half, and the way they ended the second half. You can judge a lot of character by how a team starts and finishes a game, so I’m pretty proud of how they fought.”
On a day of firsts, Timberg provided perhaps the biggest.
“It means a lot,” Timberg said of the historical first goal. “I didn’t really think about it much before the game. I actually had someone’s parents bring it up to me, mentioning, ‘you know, you could score the first goal ever of Coastal lacrosse’ and it just kind of hit home for me, and I decided I wanted to try and get that goal.”
Later in the game it was White who provided the scoring. She had one goal in the first half and two more in the final 6:41.
However, she downplayed the individual accomplishment, saying her focus is more on the team’s success.
“It feels good [to get the hat trick],” White said. “It’s not really a big deal to me, but it’s definitely a good outlook for the team. I don’t care who puts it in the goal as long as we keep getting goals. It’s good that I made three of them, but if anyone puts them in I’m happy.”
Sellers – in her first head coaching job after serving as an assistant at Stanford for three years – sees plenty of potential in her squad.
“I think they’re capable of a lot,” Sellers said. “A very great, successful first year, we have a goal to have a winning season and I think that’s absolutely achievable.”
Despite losing Friday, the Chants outshot the Bearcats 21-18 and had less turnovers (12 versus 17 for Cincinnati). Coastal has a quick turnaround as it hosts another Big East opponent in Marquette at noon Sunday.
“I think we had our heads up. It’s a bummer that we lost, but that pushes us for next time because we’re ready to get it,” White said. “We just really want to win, that’s all we want to do. So on Sunday when we play Marquette, I think we’re going to have a lot of energy, and a lot of confidence, because coming off a loss, all you want to do is win.”
Timberg says the winning formula is already there.
“I think we’re capable of a lot, it’s just putting things together and finding our rhythm. We see it in little spurts in practice, and I think once that comes together it’ll be great and I think we can do a lot,” she said. “I think we have a lot of talent on the team, a lot of athleticism, we’re all very close and the chemistry is there, so we definitely have all the components to win.”
Winning will only help draw a following for the program, which CCU athletic Director Hunter Yurachek believes is off to a solid start.
“I think we saw today, our first game, 3 o’clock in the afternoon and we had a couple hundred fans here for the inaugural game of women’s lacrosse,” Coastal athletic director Hunter Yurachek said.
“I was very impressed with how our team played today,” Yurachek continued, “and to compete with Cincinnati, a team from the Big East that’s more of an established program and to come within five goals in a 13-8 score, I thought we played very well.”
Contact JOSH BELL at 444-1702.