Stacey Morlang, Alicia Wickens & Kristen Stone are Reaching for Gold!
Stacey Morlang playing for Australia
Stacey Morlang playing for Australia
In only 2 weeks the 2013 Women's World Cup is starting and the Australian Women's team is soon taking off to Canada.
Two mums, Stacey and Alicia have to juggle family life and training for the World Cup.
Affiliated Club: Newport
World Cups played: 1999 (U19), 2001, 2005
Stacey, same as Alicia you just had a baby. Have you two gotten closer now that you are both mothers? Does having a child make it harder for you to train and play in the World Cup compared to 2009 and 2005?
Alicia and I have always had a great relationship, having played in 2 World Cups together already...she is simply the best person and team mate any one could ask for...but I will say our conversations are VERY different these days. Nowadays, our warm up laps consist of chats about potty training and sleep patterns...very funny! Training this time around after having a baby certainly is different, with new challenges. Time is always hard to come by so you have to forget how you're feeling and just get out there to train with any spare minute you can grab. In a lot of ways it has made me much more passionate about winning gold because my family has been so supportive and the commitment level is much higher than before, both mentally and physically.
You are a very talented centre player. How did you get so good in it?
Naturally I still feel even at this age that there is still a ton to learn and more things to practice but I think the main things that set any players skill apart from the rest is practice and breaking down the game yourself without relying on other people to do it for you. I have taken the time to practice and study my opponents while also trying to be innovative and break down the game to find ways to win each draw I play. The centre draw is one of the most important aspects of the game, if not the most important so my aim is always to make sure it is not a simply 50/50 ball for anyone to grab. In my opinion it needs to be a very controlled and practiced skill to give your team the best chance of winning, especially at world cup level. It is a big responsibility and not something I take lightly.
Are you looking forward to drawing off against any specific players from the other teams in the 2013 World Cup? Have you studied some of your opponent centre players?
I am looking forward to playing all of our opponents, they are all so different. Not one centre drawer is the same so it is technically and mentally very challenging to learn and find ways to beat each opponent for each game. I know a lot of my opponents already from past World Cups, playing/coaching in the US and video footage but it is very different watching them than playing against them so I will rely on gut instinct and mental toughness to take control in the games. I will certainly be watching and learning each opponent when I am in Canada.
How does your preparation now compare to the other two World cups you have played in? Are you enjoying the new responsibility of the leadership role as an assistant captain?
It is different this time around because I have had to manage a family, rather than just my own time. It has been much more challenging physically and mentally but also much more rewarding in that aspect. One of the other big differences is being older and seeing the younger amazing Aussie girls coming through and the incredible changes you can see weekly on their skill and physical/mental strength. It is very rewarding and inspiring to be a leader and be involved in the process of seeing the future of Australia Lacrosse evolve.
You were one of the pioneers playing at Loyola College in the USA and later became Assistant coach of the Women’s Lacrosse Team. Can you tell me more about the Loyola connection and how you met your team mate Kristen Stone?
Playing at Loyola was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I have lifelong friends from playing at Loyola and memories that I will never forget. I was very lucky to have that experience and now to also see Marlee Paton there (who I used to babysit) has brought me so much joy. Loyola is a very special place and so many wonderful people in my life have been able to experience that from Marlee as a player, Jen Adams as the current Head Coach and my fellow team mate Kristen Stone. Funnily enough, I actually went to Kristen's home when she was in high school to 'win her over' and recruit her to Loyola...it was one of the best recruiting moments I had as a coach and has clearly now managed to benefit my own special country...so a VERY big win in the end! She is a special player and person and her commitment to this program is incredibly admirable. I know our young Australian Lacrosse players will learn a lot from Kristen and her approach to team sports.
Affiliated Club: Footscray
World Cups played: 2001, 2005, 2009
Alicia has played in the Women's World Cup in 2001, has won Gold in 2005 and Silver in 2009.
Since 2009 she became a mother and moved to NSW. But from time to time she is visiting Victoria to train with her fellow Australian team mates for the upcoming World Cup.
Recently she has participated in this year’s Senior Women's National Championships in Melbourne as well as played a few games for her home club Footscray.
Although Alicia is one of the more experienced players she is still a very quick defender and probably the fittest woman on the Aussie team.
Affiliated Club: Williamstown Women
Kristen is fighting for the last position on the team and is listed as an alternate.
Kristen, you are from Buffalo, USA and moved to Melbourne 4 years ago. You have been playing Lacrosse for Williamston Women with the help of an international transfer. What do you like best about playing Lacrosse in Australia?
The competition here is great. Only in Australia can you week in and week out play against current and past Australian players. In the USA after you finish University, there are very few options to play lacrosse. Most competitions are more focused on the social activities than the actual playing of lacrosse. The opportunity to play for you state in the ALA National Championships is also a great honour. The rivalries between each of the states are always very strong which produces a competitive tournament each year.
Although having never played in a World Cup you have been highly involved in 5. In 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 World Cups you have assisted with the running of the scorer’s table and in 2012 you have been the U19 Aussie Men’s team manager. How did you get so involved in working at the World Cups?
My mum is highly involved in the FIL Women’s Committee and my sister is the manager of the USA Lacrosse team. So you could say it is in my blood! Through my role as the Development Officer at Lacrosse Victoria, I have made many connections across the Australian Lacrosse Community. It was through these contacts that I was approached to be the manager of the U19 Aussie Men's Team. It was an unbelievable experience, and I look forward to the new experiences I will have as a member of the Australian Women's Team.
This is your first time playing at a World Cup. How does it feel to be American and playing for Australia?
It is a great honour for me to play for Australia. Since I was a child and started playing Lacrosse I have always been dreaming of playing in the World Cup. To be playing for Australia, my new home is even better.