At this point last season, Hofstra’s women’s lacrosse team was dwelling at the bottom of the standings.
The team only had two wins and went on to collect just one more before finishing the season 3-13.
However, the Pride has turned things around in 2017, currently sitting at 6-4 while winning four of its last five games heading into the weekend.
This recent revitalization of the program is due in large part to senior Becky Conto. The fifth-year player has scored 18 goals in the last five games, including four hat tricks.
“I think I’m finally getting in my groove,” Conto said.
“I just got cleared at the beginning of the season from my ACL injury last year, so I wasn’t 100 percent confident in my dodging and my slowing down off different moves. But I think now I’m finally getting in my groove and feeling good.”
While Conto has been surging as of late, success hasn’t been unfamiliar to her this season.
The New York native has tallied 24 goals in the first 10 games of the season, which already surpasses her career high for a single season.
Conto believes she was able to match her career high in goals because she has actually been on the field.
During her career at Hofstra, Conto has suffered a plethora of injuries that have kept her on the sidelines for chunks of previous seasons.
For Conto, being injured on the bench was hard to cope with.
“It’s extremely difficult to watch from the sidelines, especially with something that you’re so passionate about,” Conto said.
“Everybody wants to do what they can to help the team win. So being on the sideline, you have to cheer on your teammates.
But then when you get the opportunity to be on the field, you have to cherish that moment and work hard for your teammates and for everyone who is watching you on the sideline who’s also injured.”
Aside from being healthy, Conto also cites her teammates as responsible for her blazing-hot play this season.
“I think it’s a combination of my teammates being able to move the ball well, looking for me on the inside and being able to create space,” Conto said.
While Conto’s senior leadership has righted the Pride’s course this season, the team has enjoyed a rejuvenating boost from its younger players.
Conto discussed how impressed she was with the team’s overall play this season, particularly the freshmen class.
“The freshman class that came in this year, they’re just athletes,” Conto said.
“I think going forward the team can only get better if we keep having classes like this class and they can come in and make an impact like these freshman have.”
Conto also talked about how the team has been able to spread the wealth over the course of the season.
Last year, the Pride’s main source of offense came from Lindsay Scott and not much else.
This year, the team has six players who have double-digit point totals.
“This year we have seven threats on the attacking end and people who are coming off the bench.
We have a deep offensive bench, and I feel like everyone can take the ball to the net and everyone can look up and make the feeds,” Conto said.
Last season, a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title was a distant desire for the women’s lacrosse team. However, the Pride finds itself in the midst of a competitive conference this season, and began CAA play last week. Conto believes it’s important to keep the momentum going.
“It’s extremely important,” Conto said. “Anything can really alter how people are going to go into each game. If we come out with two big wins going into the rest of the CAA [schedule] I think that’s going to have a huge effect on how we play for the rest of the season.”
Winning a CAA championship remains the ultimate goal for the team, and Conto firmly believes the team can achieve its dream.
“We have a really great conference with three teams in the top 20, and it’s not going to be easy, but I think if we play well and we keep getting better like we have been, it definitely could be a possibility.”