USF women’s lacrosse ‘pushes tempo’ in public debut

A commentator was at the second match to explain the rules of the game in hopes of building more engagement from the Bulls community in the future. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

A brand new team took the field at Corbett Stadium on Saturday.  

USF women’s lacrosse played its first public exhibition. This is the first time some fans witnessed the “fastest game on two feet” in real-time. 

Mindy McCord, who was announced as the lacrosse coach on May 23, 2022, said she enjoyed seeing fans come out and support her team.

“This was a great crowd today. We were excited to share the rules of the game with the fans. Hopefully, it was great entertainment and more fans want to support us next year,” McCord said.

USF played two teams on Saturday – Saint Leo University at 10 a.m., followed by Florida Southern College at 2 p.m.

A commentator was at the second match and explained the plays of the game in hopes of building more engagement from fans in the future. 

South Florida took home a 21-11 victory over the Saint Leo. USF also opened the scoreboard with a point in each quarter. 

Sophomore attacker Sofia Chepenik said she likes to play a fast-paced game and put pressure on the opponents early on. 

The Bulls led by as many as 11 points against the Lions in the first match. However, Florida Southern proved to be more competitive. 

In the neck-and-neck match, the Bulls fell to the Moccasins 18-17. During the second quarter, USF was able to keep a steady four-point lead over its opponent. 

McCord said she uses these scrimmages as an opportunity to give every player some minutes on the field as practice. This doesn’t lower their level of competitiveness though, as the team takes every match with a game-winning mindset. 

“For us, it’s about getting film and teaching,” McCord said. “We’re going to continue having a lot of fun with the team [and] push the tempo to make sure no one’s comfortable, because that’s the enemy of greatness.” 

The team does not have much collegiate experience. There are 21 freshmen on the roster.

Chepenik is one of six non-freshmen on the team. She totaled 33 goals and was named to the ACC All-Freshman team at her previous school, Clemson, last season

She said her prior experience gives her a ‘big sister’ role on the team due to recently being in her teammates’ shoes.

“[I took] what I learned from last year and [became] someone they can talk to and bring a different lens to them about the game,” Chepenik said.

McCord said she’s determined to create a family culture for her inaugural team at South Florida.

“We want to build great leaders no matter what the score is,” McCord said. “As we grow their games, they’re going to grow in their sisterhood and make them very dangerous with some experience.”