‘Majority’ of Syracuse players expected to wear helmets in 2018 season

first_img Published on February 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 At Syracuse’s Ensley Athletic Center on Tuesday, SU’s women’s lacrosse team ran through a routine practice. The ball was passed around the perimeter of the offensive zone as players shot on the far goal. Nothing about the lacrosse was out of the ordinary.What wasn’t routine was the helmets on most of the players’ heads.“I didn’t take a poll or ask anyone,” Gary Gait said, “but I assume if they’ve been wearing them all preseason they feel pretty comfortable in them and will wear them on the weekend.”When No. 7 Syracuse takes on Connecticut on Friday in its season-opener, there’s an expectation among the Orange that helmets will take on a prominent role, at least in appearances. It’ll be the first time SU players wear helmets in-game. Gait said he hasn’t seen a change in the play styles of those wearing helmets in practice, so the mechanics of the game may not change. Both veterans and freshmen have given rave reviews of the helmet and it looks to potentially be a permanent shift in the women’s game.“I love the helmet,” Taylor Gait, a redshirt-senior midfielder, said. “I think it elevates the game. You don’t get scared when you dodge in. You play with more confidence. And I’m not nervous that I’m gonna get hurt.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPrior to last season, women’s lacrosse players wore goggles and a mouthpiece. Goalies already wore a helmet. But last year the allowance was made for all players to have the option of wearing a helmet, not just the goalies. No Syracuse player — except for goalies Asa Goldstock, Bri Stahrr and Erin Coleman — wore a helmet at any point last year, though, as Syracuse didn’t even have them in stock and no players asked for one.This season, helmets were added to Syracuse’s equipment package, Gary Gait said. Helmets are now readily available for each and every player, if they choose to wear one.“I think helmet companies really stepped up and talked to some teams and tried to promote the whole thing,” Taylor Gait said.So far, multiple Syracuse players have said they’re planning on wearing helmets on Friday. Emily Hawryschuk, a sophomore, said she thinks she’ll wear one come gameday. Sam Swart, a freshman, said she will be wearing one in-game. Taylor Gait and Mackenzie Baker both are planning on wearing helmets in games as well.“I personally love it,” Swart said. “It’s making the game safer and more aggressive because you just go, there’s nothing holding you back.”Gary Gait suggested that play styles will remain similar, though, because there is still a consequential opening at the front of the field players’ helmets. The NCAA made rule changes in the offseason, but none were made because of an expectation of more players in helmets. The way that game is played has stayed the same, Gary Gait said. He doesn’t expect players to become more reckless in swinging their sticks around.“You still see people wanting to protect their face,” Gary Gait said. “I think that’s a natural reaction any time.”Hawryschuk downplayed the difficulty of the decision at hand. The sophomore said no one influenced the players to try a helmet or not. She doesn’t think that the rules create pressure on players to choose one or the other. Rather, the players can choose whatever they feel most comfortable with.Come Friday evening when SU begins its season, there surely will be some helmets on the players in the Carrier Dome. Hawryschuk expects a majority of the Orange to be wearing them, as the helmet usage in practices suggested. And while it’s not obvious how many helmets the Huskies might have, it’s clear that there’ll be more helmets moving around above the turf than there ever have been for a women’s lacrosse game at Syracuse before.“At first it was a little weird,” Swart said. “But I’m all up for trying new things.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img