Going into their fourth and final season as part of the women’s lacrosse team, seniors Ashley Argyros and Caitlin Formato believe that this is their year.

“It’s the best year.  We’re having fun this year,” said Argyros and Formato, stating that this year has a whole different feel to it.  “The vibe from the coaches to the players is just different.”

Led by  coach Lauren Hay, the team finished their fall ball season with their best record since Argyros and Formato arrived at Mason.  Fall ball, although it does not count towards anything, gets the team prepared for the regular season, which begins in the spring.  Going 7-3-1, they have shown improvement in all aspects of their game, beating teams they would not have matched up against in years past.

Most recently, the team hosted a tournament as part of their fall ball season.  A big part of the tournament was to emphasize breast cancer awareness.  Teams are encouraged to wear pink for former player Kiersten Jauschnegg, who graduated last year.  Jauschnegg lost her mother to breast cancer.

“We make sure we have pink headbands and whatever we can find we try and do.  Last year we wore pink jerseys,” explained Argyros, a defenseman from Pittsburgh.

The Patriots went on to win all four games in the tournament for the first time.  Beating Longwood, UMBC, Howard and Bucknell, the two seniors believe major changes have led to the team’s success.  For the first time, the team has yet to name captains.  Instead, they have established a leadership committee consisting of three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.  The committee is responsible for making sure players are going to meetings, class, organizing community service and that no one is slacking.  Both Argyros and Formato are part of the committee and like the effects it has been having.

“It actually turned out better than I thought it would be,” said Formato, one of last year’s captains.  “It makes the underclassmen step up a bit and there’s less pressure.”

Another big change has been the coaching.  Along with Hay, new assistant coach Adam Norton has been a huge part for their newly winning ways.

“I think they both have balanced each other out really well.  I don’t think it’s more one than the other.  They bring out the best in each other,” the two seniors explained.

While they may not have the most talented team ever, Argyros and Formato are confident this team is the best one they have been part of.

“To me, in sports, it’s all about being on the same page.  A team can be full of the best athletes but they’re not going to win if the other team gets along well and has good attitude and plays together.  And I think that’s what we’ll have more for us this year,” said Formato, the midfielder from Buffalo, NY.

“We’ve had the talent to have a way better record the past three years we’ve been here.”

The team’s winning ways has their confidence higher than it has ever been.  The next couple months of the offseason are the hardest time to keep that confidence high. “There’s a lot running, a lot of conditioning and stuff so the fact we ended fall ball on a really positive note that its going to fall through into our off season,” Argyros said.

The two believe the team’s great play will motivate them to carry their momentum into the offseason and throughout the season.  Unlike years past, they are ready to showcase what they have been working for.

“It’s taken four years to put it together and hopefully we’ll be able to tell people we’re 10-3,” said Argyros and Formato, emphasizing their goal to change the program to a winning one.

“You could say from every single person in our class from the point we stepped on campus till the day we graduate, we wanted the same thing.  And this year we’re all on the same level.”

The new and improved lacrosse team will have to wait a while to prove to everyone they are the real deal as their home opener is not until Feb. 23 against Brown University.