Lemay embraces leadership role on lacrosse team

In only its second season as a program, the Central Michigan lacrosse team is one of the youngest in the nation with 27 underclassmen, one junior and no seniors.

The young team faces several challenges, but none more obvious than the lack of veteran leadership.

Like most sophomores, midfielder Jocelyne Lemay has enhanced her skills and increased her role on the team since her freshman campaign. She is also presented with the task of being a team leader as an underclassman. 

As a freshman during the 2016 season, Lemay was arguably the team’s most productive player. She led the Chippewas in points and goals while also being a menace on the defensive side ranking fifth among CMU players in ground balls won.

With the good came the bad, however.

Lemay faced a challenge early on of not having someone to look up to. In many situations, Lemay and the Chippewas had to learn from their own mistakes. 

“Last year was hard because we had to teach ourselves what we can (and) cannot do,” Lemay said. “Even this year we’re still learning the process.”

Lemay started all 16 games for CMU last season and posted an impressive 40 points and 35 goals. 

Seeing Lemay’s success from a year ago, fans voted her the 2017 Atlantic Sun Preseason Player of the Year.

She hasn’t disappointed. Through nine games she has 29 points, including a team-high 25 goals.

Lemay’s mentality and production has increased, which led to her being named a team captain. Rather than shying away from the opportunity, the sophomore has seized it. 

“It’s a huge responsibility,” Lemay said. “But I enjoy being able to lead the team and help the girls that come in with their struggles.”

With 13 freshmen on the team this season, it’s no doubt Lemay’s leadership will play a vital role for the Chippewas. Many of those freshmen are expected to contribute immediately, so it’s necessary to follow the example set by Lemay to help adjust to the collegiate level. 

Acknowledging the lack of upperclassman, head coach Sara Tisdale expected Lemay and other young players on the team to step up and grasp a leadership role. 

“Every day, every game, every practice is an opportunity to step up and be a leader,” Tisdale said. “We always challenge our players to take on the challenge of being a leader.”

While Lemay does light up the score column, she is equally impressive on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, Tisdale thinks that may be the stronger part of her game.

“She hustles all the time and is willing to run through a ground ball,” Tisdale said. “She might not pick it up but it results in her teammate being able to pick it up because of how hard she works.” 

Even though they were picked to finish eighth in the ASUN, the Chippewas have their sights set on a championship in year two.