Sweet Briar’s lacrosse team will celebrate Senior Day at noon on Saturday, April 7, with a home game against Randolph College. Before the action gets underway, the Vixens will honor Elizabeth Phaup, of Amherst, and A’Shawnta Sherman, of Richmond.
Both have made a tremendous impact on their team and will be missed at Sweet Briar, says Coach Meredith Newman.
“Liz has been a leader on and off the field for the lacrosse team ever since I arrived in August 2016,” Newman said. “As a player, she puts in significant hours outside of practice and encourages her teammates to do the same. She challenges herself in practice and lives by the philosophy that she will not be outworked. As a regular contributor all over the field, her presence will be missed, but her legacy will live on well beyond her time at Sweet Briar.”
Replacing Sherman will be just as challenging, Newman adds.
“A’shawnta stepped up in the fall of 2016 as a first-year goalie and hasn’t stopped improving ever since. A vocal leader on defense and a stalwart force in the cage, ‘Te-Tay’ has helped to keep us in games by coming up with big saves and starting the transition back to our offensive end. Always ready with a quick joke and a light-hearted personality, we are facing a tall order in finding her successor heading into next year.”
A psychology major, Phaup is a multisport-athlete, celebrating Senior Day last fall as a member of the soccer team. Off the field, Phaup is involved in Falls on Nose and Sweet Dancers and leads the weekly Bible study at Sweet Briar. An outdoor enthusiast, she worked last summer as a tour guide in Alaska. This coming summer, she’ll be working and taking online classes before applying to Lynchburg College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
As far as she’s concerned, graduation can’t come soon enough — even though she’s enjoying her final semester.
“I feel like I have truly been able to appreciate what I have learned — in my classes and from my coaches — without taking it for granted,” Phaup said. “I have learned that I can handle more than I thought I was capable of. I never thought I was the kind of person who can overload on classes, work, play sports and have good grades, but now I am that person! I don’t think I could have become that person without the guidance, help and advice of my professors, coaches and parents. They’ve helped me along the way and taught me how to not only do everything, but excel in whatever I am doing.”
A’Shawnta Sherman (center) protects the Vixens’ goal.
That fierce, can-do spirit resonates with her teammate, too. Like Phaup, Sherman practices two sports. When she isn’t guarding the Vixens’ lacrosse goal, the anthropology major can be found running on Sweet Briar’s cross-country team. A recipient of the 2016-2017 Coaches’ Award, Sherman also is a member of the Black Student Alliance and various other clubs on campus.
Her Sweet Briar experience has been unforgettable, she says.
“Being an athlete has been one of the most trying, but equally rewarding, experiences I’ve had here at Sweet Briar,” Sherman said. “Apart from the physical aspect of being an athlete, mentally, it caused me to push boundaries that I didn’t know I had. Coach Newman is fostering a culture that forces us to believe in ourselves and each other. She urges each of us to BE SOMEBODY, and that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”