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Lacrosse team heads to Florida for tough competition

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

By Emily Rosenberg

Associate Editor

One hot morning in Panama City, Florida, Regan Fein sat on the beach and was in awe as she watched dolphins jump through the water.

A native New Englander, it was the first time Fein had ever seen starfish, sharks, stingrays, or dolphins.

Spring break is a typical time for students to take life-changing trips. And this was no exception for the FSU Women’s Lacrosse team who traveled to Florida from March 12-17 to play two tournament games against Ohio Northern University and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Florida provided an exciting new turf for teammates to explore both with their lacrosse sticks and their inner travel-bug.

Fein, a captain of the team and a senior, said traveling for tournament games seems to be a tradition for some FSU sports teams. Last year, women’s lacrosse traveled to South Carolina. She said the trip provides an opportunity for teams to play universities they would otherwise never compete against.

Fein said playing teams from across the country provides perspective to their own gameplay, adding when the team plays the same New England universities every year, players learn what to expect.

She added there are “a hundred plays you can practice” but until they are put into a live game, they won’t realize what should be tweaked or adapted.

Jordan Utter, a senior and a team captain, said the team had to access both Ohio Northern and Merchant Marine’s best and worst aspects of their game by watching a lot of film and confronting pre-dispositions in practice, so they could capitalize on any errors when they faced off on the turf.

“At the end of the day, we play our game against every team with the same goal in mind. I would say the actual game played was similar to what we see here, but our preparation was much different,” Utter said.

Utter said, “The first game we played against Ohio Northern was electric energy from the Rams for the whole 60 minutes of play.” The Rams beat Ohio Northern 25-7.

On the other hand, Fein said Merchant Marine was a tougher opponent and they lost 17-12. She said the Rams weren’t able to “click” like they normally do, and while facing a more aggressive team this became a disadvantage.

Yet, it proved to her what the team needs to work on moving forward, she said.

Brooke Phelps, a junior and team member, said to prepare for the games against Merchant Marine and Ohio Northern, they practiced Monday and Thursday, as well as watched film of the other teams.

After “crushing” Ohio Northern, the team’s biggest win at that point in the season, Fein said she enjoyed decompressing by going to the beach, watching the waves, and grabbing hotdogs with her teammates.

“These are the people that I am going to be friends with for the rest of my life, like that is honestly just like the best part of it,” Fein added.

Fein said being in Florida was also a great team building experience. “All 20 of us were in a house together, which sounds like it would be horrible, but it was a beautiful house … and I really just got that feeling like ‘Wow these are my teammates, we get along so well.’”

Head Coach Devyne Doran said teammates cooked and went grocery shopping together. She said she was lucky to manage a responsible group of women who had no issue working together to clean the kitchen and take care of the beach house.

She added not only did her team do an “awesome” job traveling efficiently and staying happy during what could’ve been a stressful time, they also worked hard to fundraise for the trip. The team threw several fundraisers throughout the year to bring down the initial cost of taking the team to Florida, including selling concessions at a Bruins game and hosting their own mini thrift shop in the McCarthy lobby.

Also during the trip, two teammates had birthdays turning 21 and 22 years old calling for a fun celebration with cake.

After recalling a smooth plane trip and cool walks to the ice cream shop in the Panama City downtown area, Phelps laughed about a mishap that occurred halfway through the week.

Phelps was taken to the emergency room when her face and skin swelled up due to sun poisoning. “Everybody made fun of me the whole freaking trip because I had a really bad allergic reaction and I looked crazy,” she said.

Utter said, “Being in Florida with my team is a memory I will cherish forever. …. I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to stay in a house with 23 of my closest friends again so I will forever savor that.”



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