niki holmes

Junior Niki Holmes had the game-winning assist in a 12-11 victory over RIT recently. Hannah Bazarian, Photo Editor.

The Yellowjackets’ home opener against Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday, March 19 was a marathon — a grueling back-and-forth duel between crosstown rivals that kept both athletes and spectators  on edge from the first whistle to the last. In the end, the home team pulled out a 12-11 win, in no small part thanks to junior Niki Holmes. Holmes, an attacker, led the women with four goals. She also assisted classmate and midfielder Kayleigh Hogan on the winning goal with 3:14 to go.

How did you get your start playing lacrosse?

I  actually  started by playing boy’s lacrosse since they didn’t have [a girl’s team] yet. My brother had been playing, so of course I wanted to as well. From there, I played with girls who were five years older than me and twice my size. After a couple of years of that, a team for my age was finally created.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

We always have a mini dance party as a team before the game, and our coach has an inspirational quote in the locker room to pump us up.

With spring being a relatively short season, do you and your teammates practice or condition through the summer, fall and winter to prepare?

Yes. We have a fall season that includes practices, a scrimmage day and lifting. In the winter, we were given a workout plan that continued with lifting in the fall and included conditioning and stick skills. The same type of workout is given for the summer. I’m not sure if you saw us shoveling Fauver? But we did several times. We know our season is short and that we have no time to waste.

With last year’s strong senior class gone, how have you and your teammates adjusted in order to continue to play at a high level?

Dani [Mondro] and [Amanda] Case were our only two seniors last year, and both were exceptional players. Their speed on the field, hustle and leadership skills were hard to replace. Our two senior captains this year, Charlie Clements and Maggie Stevenson, have been vital in filling this gap. They have both become huge assets on the field. They always push us and bring positive energy each and every day.

Bernstein is a member of
the class of 2014.

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