HASLETT, Mich. (WLNS) – When Chad Pastor was hired as the Haslett-Williamston girls lacrosse coach, he never envisioned what the next few years would look like.

COVID-19 wiped out his first opportunity to coach the co-op schools, and then the 2021 season featured a number of COVID-19 protocols.

Now, in the 2022 season, Pastor and his team are experiencing a normal season and are taking full advantage. After a third-place finish last year, the Vikings have put themselves in a position to capture their first conference title in program history.

Last Thursday, Haslett-Williamston defeated previously unbeaten Lansing Catholic, 8-5, and then followed that up with a win over East Lansing, 10-6. Both wins came on the road and improved the Vikings’ record to 4-1 in conference play and 5-2 on the season.

What played a role in the Vikings’ win over the Cougars was Pastor taking a different approach leading up to the game.

“The girls didn’t realize going into the game that Lansing Catholic was 5-0. I didn’t tell them and nobody really looked at that, which is fine. After the game, I was like ‘you guys just knocked off a 5-0 team,’ and they were like, what?” Pastor said. “I think just not stating what it is, allows them to not get in their own heads and worry about what goes on. They can just play calm. So as long as they can basically clear their heads and go play calm, they play really well.”

Junior attacker Ree Baetz said, “I feel like the sport has become more of a mental sport than a physical sport half the time. It kind of helped our self-esteem though because it showed that we can do hard things as well.”

Senior attacker Rachel Guarnaccia said, “It was a surprise to me for sure, I think to everybody because we took on that game so well as a team and worked so well together.”