By Jonathan Davidson - Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
The 2017 Campbell lacrosse season is just a few days away and the Camels are hard at work preparing for the upcoming campaign. We recently talked with Campbell's three seniors Merredith Bechler, Erin O'Hara and April Reinhart to get their thoughts on the upcoming season and to learn a little more about them off the field.
Okay ladies the 2017 season is almost here, tell us about your excitement level heading into your final seasons.
Bechler: "My excitement level is through the roof! It's our senior season, we just want to go out with a bang and finish strong."
Reinhart: "I'm stoked about it! This is my final year here at Campbell and I really believe that this is the team that's going to advance the farthest I've ever been."
O'Hara: "I'm really excited about this year because I just feel like this team is working really well together. I just see a lot of great things coming out of this season, and it's my last season to play with my friends and give it all I have."
Six seniors graduated from last year's team. How are you guys embracing your new roles as the seniors on this squad?
Bechler: "One of the roles I've taken on this season is helping the freshman class get acclimated with the rest of the team. I feel the seniors and upperclassmen have done really well with that so far. With this team there are no separate cliques, we're all out here on the same page and working towards the same goal."
Reinhart: "I feel that my role this year is to show that I can still keep that excitement factor going after five years. With one extra year under my belt after my redshirt year I want the young players have the attitude like; "well if April can do it, so can I. She's still out here having fun, so I want to be here giving it my all because she's a grandma and she's still doing her thing!"
O'Hara: "I feel that my role this year has changed a lot because in the past I would hang in the background, not really as a vocal leader. But this year will be a true test of how I grow my character. I really need to speak up and make sure I'm catering to everyone's needs and communicating them to the coaching staff. It's time to step out of my comfort zone as a vocal leader."
What kind of legacy do you guys want to leave here at Campbell?
Reinhart: "I think the biggest legacy I want to leave is a family atmosphere. I know everyone wants to win and wants to leave a winning legacy as well. But having that togetherness and a true family atmosphere as a team is going to go a long way as new people enter the program each year. Because if we do it now, we'll have girls come in that will want to be here and stay here to be a part of this special program."
Bechler: "In regards to what April said about the family aspect of it all, I think it helps with the process of practicing and working hard every single for multiple hours. If you enjoy being out here, the work doesn't seem as hard and it's going to get us to our end goal a lot easier."
O'Hara: "We just want to instill a habit of winning. We want to make sure that every year the goal is to be in the conference championship. That's what we want our legacy to be. That Campbell is not just a number four or five team in the league, but a top contender every year. We want people to be gunning for us just like High Point and Winthrop. We need to incorporate that family aspect while holding each other to a high standard."
Merredith, for the first time at Campbell, there are three goalies on the roster. How are you helping the underclassmen who will be taking over the cage full time next season?
Bechler: "We have been pushing each other every single day at practice and it's made all of us better goalies. I'm teaching them as much as I can defensive wise from experience so next year when I'm gone they will be able to do it on their own as better goalies that can help the new freshmen goalies that will come in as well."
April, you're the only player left from the inaugural team in 2013. How does it feel to be the final piece of the original puzzle?
Reinhart: "I really treat it as my claim to fame. I feel like this is my year to give all I've got because I missed the whole first year as a freshman. Now I get to be a part of this team and I'm lucky enough to have these two by my side that let me take their senior year and be a part of it, which is really awesome. Being here is a blessing to me."
Bechler and O'Hara: "We love still having her!"
Erin and April, you guys return a majority of the defense this season. How do you feel you guys stack up in the back?
O'Hara: "I'm really excited for it. It's a huge asset having most everybody back from last season because we are already familiar with each other and how everyone plays. We have changed the style of defense from last year and I think that everyone is catching on quickly. I'm thrilled to still have April here and Megan (Reilly) and Amanda (Chasin) are back well. And then Allison (Waldhauser) has come in and picked up things quickly too. I really feel that we're going to be a cohesive unit."
Reinhart: "Coach Easley has really been focusing on our individual defense in practice, which is really great for Allison as a freshman because it was all about team defense when I was a freshman. Having that individualized help is great, it really does make us all a cohesive unit."
What have been your favorite memories so far here at Campbell?
Bechler: "One of my greatest memories was probably beating Coastal Carolina last season. Doing it on their field and watching everyone celebrate afterwards was great. Being able to see it unfold from the other end in the goal was a chilling moment."
Reinhart: "Most of my best memories are from my first years because I'm the old one of the group. Having to chase down ground balls near the porta potties my freshman year is something I will always remember."
O'Hara: "I think last year as a whole was one of my favorite memories. Just being able to be with those seniors, the ones that started the program, and witness their last season as they just gave everything they had. The season as a whole was great but Coastal is still the one that sticks out for me. That was one of the most exciting games I've played in my life. Because we wanted to beat them so bad and we finally were able to do it."
Tell us about your goals for your final seasons.
Bechler: "I think my goal is to have all the younger players find their place as players on the field. I think if we are all being efficient and winning games then they will get more playing time. When I was younger, I loved when I got in the game and was able to be a part of the team. I felt like I was contributing. So I want all the girls to feel like a part of this team."
O'Hara: "My goal is to win a conference championship, but I want to take it even one step further and win the first round of the NCAA tournament. I think that will be a really big accomplishment and would really put Campbell on the map to attract a lot of big time recruits. But I think the biggest goal is just playing as one unit, making sure that everyone is on the same page and believing that we can be successful"
Reinhart: "I want some hype around this season and having people want to come and watch us because we are successful. I know we have our usual fans that includes our parents that come from all over to support us. But it would be awesome to have even more support from our school!"
The biggest change this season in women's lacrosse is the addition of the shot clock. How will this affect the team's game plan and style of play?
Reinhart: "I think that we'll have to have a lot better possessions because we know that we'll have to get a good shot off. We won't just be taking shots and getting rebounds before bringing it back in and starting over. We know that we have to hit the goal and make it a priority to take those good quality shots. So we're really trying to work on shooting at practice and really focusing on our sets and plays."
O'Hara: "I agree with April. I think that it's going to help us a lot because it will make us become more accurate on attack. I also like that it makes the game more fast pace and a team won't be able to just hold the ball the whole time. It forces you to make the most of your opportunities. I think it's going to be a really great addition to the game."
Bechler: "From a goalie perspective it's going to be a lot quicker style of play. You'll need to be ready because I have a feeling that people will be taking a lot of quick eight-meter shots in transition. But we'll be ready for them, coach has been preparing us."
Tell us a little bit about your pregame routines.
Bechler: "I listen to music with the team in the locker room, but I do have to take time to work on my mental focus. Because as a goalie I do have to focus on such a specific part of the game. I really have to center myself, but right before I go out I always look to April for a happy comedic moment to lighten the mood. You have to find a perfect balance and April is that for us."
Reinhart: "I think that I can't go out too serious because I take nothing seriously. Until I'm on the field of course. So I do a lot of Scottish dancing, I add a little bit of hip-hop dancing, do some impersonations but I also work on reaction time. I like to check-in with everyone before the game and if they don't want me there I will get out of the way. But it's always good to see if I can get my teammates going and hype for the game in a way that won't scare them away."
Bechler: "It really helps with anxiety."
O'Hara: "Yeah, mine is definitely looking to April because every time I look at her she is doing some kind of dance or is even wearing a nightgown."
Bechler: "Hahaha this goes back to our favorite moments. "Last season at Furman, April put on a dirty nightgown that she found in the locker room and did a performance for us with Loren (Day). And then proceeds to leap across the locker room."
As kids, what led you guys to play lacrosse?
Bechler: "My dad. He grew up in Morristown, N.J., which is a very big lacrosse town. But I grew up in Washington Township and when they started a program my dad was interested in it. I wanted to do something with my dad so I started playing."
O'Hara: "I played soccer, basketball and swam growing up, but I had never even heard of lacrosse. So when I was in eighth grade I got cut from my soccer team. One of my cousins played lacrosse at Limestone and another one played at Maryland so they convinced me to try lacrosse. I tried out for the team and made the "C" squad and worked my way up from there."
Reinhart: "My first love was basketball. But in high school I got recruited by the lacrosse coach when she noticed that I had a great stance on the court and she needed defenders. She was my best friend's cousin and I wanted to play with my best friend so I reluctantly joined the team. I ended up being really good at it despite being upset that I wasted all those hours of my life playing basketball. But it was worth it, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Tell us about some of the funniest moments from your time here at CU?
Bechler: "Last season, when Rebecca (Sheinfeld) would talk through everything. That was really funny. Also, Sarah Paul always seems to randomly fall down a lot. No one is even near her and she still falls on the ground. This team as a whole has a great sense of humor. It's sarcastic, but it's all in good fun."
Reinhart: "All of our freshmen have these little digs they like to deliver. Like Tina (Ricci), she always talks about herself in third person and says random things like how she loves to listen to classical music or how she walks on her tippy toes. Or she will say, "Tina is hungry", or "Tina needs to go somewhere." She will just be sitting on a couch and crack a little joke that surprises everybody."
O'Hara: "I think of Mackenzie (Griffith) all the time when I think of funny moments."
Bechler: "Yeah like when coach yelled at her one time and she responds with, "guess it's just not my day," and then walks off. Anybody else would have been devastated and in tears. But she just played it off."
Reinhart: "Oh we also have this can-can dance that me and Megan (Reilly) like to perform to Come on Eileen before some of the games. We do a lot of handshakes before the game too, like me and Merredith's from Finding Nemo."
O'Hara: "We also had our team scavenger hunt at the beginning of the year. That was a pretty epic day, definitely one of our favorite memories that we forgot about earlier. It was really fun."
Let's learn a little more about Merredith, Erin and April off the field...
Bechler: "Ice cream."
Reinhart: "Reese's Puffs or Lucky Charms."
Favorite off the field activity:
Favorite bus activity during road trips:
O'Hara: "Listening to music."
Reinhart: "Staring out the window."
Bechler: "Watching April's mouth fall open when she falls asleep."
Reinhart: "Oh yeah I do that, I'm an open mouth sleeper. So I usually put a sweatshirt over my face so nobody will mess with me."
Bechler: "Oh or doing Karaoke on the bus."
Reinhart: "Yes we do play a lot of games too, but I really like to stare out the window."
Favorite road trip so far:
Reinhart: "I can't remember the exact trip but there was one game that Rebecca (Sheinfeld) had her camera with her and she would put it in anybody's face that was sleeping."
Reinhart: "Either Bridesmaids or the Grinch."
Bechler: "How to train your Dragon 1 and 2."
Reinhart: "She does have the stuffed animal from the movie."
Bechler: "Yes! And 3 is coming out next fall!"
Favorite TV show:
O'Hara: "The Office."
Reinhart: "The Bachelor"
Bechler: "One Tree Hill or This is us, it's a new show."
Reinhart: "Oh and I like New Girl, or any other funny sitcom."
Favorite sport besides football:
Reinhart: "Basketball, duh!"
O'Hara: "Ice hockey."
Bechler: "Yes ice hockey."
O'Hara and Bechler: "April!"
Reinhart: "I say either Mackenzie (Griffith), Melissa (Placek) or Sarah Paul."
Bechler: "People seem to get funnier when they are with other people, they feed off each other."
O'Hara: "But naturally on her own it has to be April."
Favorite class so far at Campbell:
Bechler: "Anything with Dr. Lawrence!"
O'Hara: "Yes, she is great."
Reinhart: "I really enjoyed my ceramics class, it was a lot of fun."
Reinhart: "I want to be a wedding planner, but right now I'm working in event coordinating."
Bechler: "My dream job is to work in the fashion industry, but if anyone is looking to hire a marketing major just hit me up!"
O'Hara: "I want to work for Under Armor one day, but in the mean time I'll be on the coach at my parent's house."
Bechler: "Anything Megan (Reilly) has on Soundcloud."
O'Hara: "I love all music, except classical."
O'Hara: "Basically we love anything with a beat that we can get hype to."
Bechler: "Exactly, just like Megan's music!"
Favorite musical artist:
Bechler: "Justin Bieber."
Reinhart: "Bruce Springsteen or Ke$ha."
O'Hara: "Either Beyoncé or Rihanna."