By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke
Last week, the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association placed Duquesne seniors Lib Lowry and Kristen Newbrough on the academic honor roll. Casey Briglia, Melissa Hanson and Michelle Morris – graduates from the team’s previous senior class – were also on the list.
The 265 total students recognized by the IWLCA were of junior or senior status with a 3.5 or better GPA. Duquesne was one of 86 Division I teams with a cumulative GPA over a 3.0.
Both Lowry and Newbrough had full course loads last semester with 18 credit hours each. Despite this intense workload in the classroom, Lowry racked up 11 goals and 11 assists on attack, averaged a .5 shot-on-goal percentage as well as finished the year ranked fifth in points for the Dukes.
“I’m just focused on and off the field,” Lowry said. “I put the time and effort into it. Student-athletes definitely have to work smarter, because they don’t have as much time. With 20-30 hours of practice a week, there’s definitely less time. Duquesne has a really good academic support system. If you are ever struggling, they will always get you a tutor, or get you the help that you need.”
The five upperclassmen were able to balance academics as well as compete in an intense four-month regular season. The Duke’s season took off last February and continued all the way through the Atlantic 10 Championship in May.
Along with setting high academic standards, Duquesne made it to the A-10 semifinals before falling to Richmond in a game in which Lowry had a hat trick performance, and was later named to the all-championship team.
There really isn’t an offseason when considering the individual strength and conditioning done in order to maintain the fitness level required to compete at the collegiate level.
“I’m pretty good with time-management,” Newbrough said. “After practice, I go home and do my homework. I’ve gotten tutors in the past when I’ve needed help to make sure that I wouldn’t fall behind.”
Newbrough is a nursing major in her final year at Duquesne, and hopes to work in a pediatric intensive care unit.
“Luckily my coach is really supportive. He understands when we miss practice for clinical or even to get extra help for class,” she said. “He always understands that I need to put class first. He knows that this is what I’ll be doing in a couple of months when I graduate.”
In the off-season alone, a Duquesne lacrosse player’s schedule consists of lifting three times a week, practicing for two hours and conditioning for three hours each day.
The “fall ball” schedule, which began September 14, is a seven-week period ending on the 31 where the Dukes are set to practice 20 hours a week and compete in five matches.
The time commitment during “fall ball” reflects the similar six-day, 20-hour week seen during the regular season.
Coach Mike Scerbo recognized his team’s academic performance as a whole and stated that the girls actually carried an overall team GPA of a 3.5 this past semester.
“The team is made up of a great group of kids that know how to balance the vigor of being an athlete and the demands of the classroom,” Scerbo said.
As for the seniors recognized by the IWLCA, Scerbo is especially proud.
“I can’t say enough for what they do for us when it comes to winning and losing,” he said. “On top of that, what they do for us, representing the team across campus, is outstanding. The efforts that they put in on a daily basis in the classroom are something for all of us to look up to.”