Photo by Roger Howard

The pressure to perform does not affect all first-timers. Rachel Snedegar joined the women’s lacrosse team mid-season not knowing what to expect. She said her experience with the lacrosse team matched their positive, winning spirit.

Snedegar was recruited to replace goalie Karen Brady, who was diagnosed with a concussion during halftime on April 6. Snedegar replaced Brady as the team's goalie for the next four games, and the team won.

Snedegar had only played lacrosse before as a high school gym class activity but one day in the athletic training room, Snedegar was asked to fill the goalie position by Danielle Kilboy, an athletic trainer at Otterbein.

          

After changing her major from education to athletic training during her sophomore year, Snedegar had to stay an extra year at Otterbein to fulfill the program’s four-year requirement. Snedegar had played basketball at Otterbein, filling her four-year eligibility and therefore had to compete in a different sport if she wanted to be in athletics.

Snedegar said she didn’t know any of the players on the lacrosse team when she joined but had never been on a more welcoming team.

After losing Brady, the women’s lacrosse team understood the predicament they were in. Stephani Schmidt, the team’s head coach, said that since Snedegar was doing them a tremendous favor, the team knew the best case scenario would come out of their love and support of the team’s newest member.

          

“As a coach, that’s awesome," Schmidt said. "You want to see them care more about what their teammates can achieve.” 

Snedegar received a full week of preparation learning an athletic, goalie stance and other basic training.

“We have a couple coaches so we can work on some things,” Schmidt said. “Really the biggest for her is learning the fundamentals through repetition anyway, so they become a little bit more habit, and she’s just not using her all-around athletic instinct to stop the ball.”

In the conference, Snedegar is ranked third in save percentage. After making her first save, she said she didn’t know what to do and had to ask the defense for advice.

On the basketball court, Snedegar said she allows mistakes to change her mentality causing her not to play as well. Unlike when she competed in basketball, Snedegar said she didn’t have high expectations for her first game. She said she felt relaxed even when informed about being up against some of the best shooters.

Snedegar missed some practices with the lacrosse team due to a prior commitment to attend a wedding and scheduled appointments with her clients at Uplift, where she had an internship and now works as a personal trainer. 

“The coaches have been really nice about just doing individual practices with me,” Snedegar said.

Otterbein was first in the OAC going into the game on April 26. The loss resulted in a three-way tie between Otterbein, Mount Union and Baldwin Wallace for the regular-season championship, Schmidt said.

Otterbein played against Baldwin Wallace on Wednesday, April 30 for their first appearance in the OAC tournament semi-finals. Otterbein lost to Baldwin Wallace 14-13. Schmidt said there was a chance Brady could’ve been approved by the athletic trainers to return and play in the finals on Saturday, May 3, but “concussions are obviously complicated and there is a strict protocol they go through.” Even if Brady was cleared by trainers, that does not guarantee she would be able to play right away.

As a freshmen, Snedegar had never guessed she would be graduating this year, especially with this fairly successful extra-curricular endeavor with the lacrosse team.