The hardest part was learning to catch and pass the ball.
For the players, that is.
Fort Lewis women's lacrosse head coach Kelley Queisser had a much tougher task just to get to that point: building the team.
FLC's spanking-new NCAA squad, created to meet Title IX requirements last fall, begins its inaugural season today at Regis University on the Front Range. The Skyhawks will play Colorado College on Monday afternoon.
Expectations are low, but spirits are high for year No. 1.
"We've said we'd like to win a game or two, but, to be honest, I just want to see us improve every game," Queisser said.
"I'd like to score more goals, allow fewer goals, get more assists and get better every single game stats-wise, while the players develop their individual styles."
A former high school All-American from Coronado, Calif., Queisser (pronounced KWY-ZER) joined the FLC staff after serving four seasons as coach of the highly successful San Diego State women's lacrosse club that ranked in the nation's top 20 during each of its past three seasons.
Queisser led the Aztecs up one division, from the Western Women's Lacrosse League Division B to Division A, winning two league titles along the way.
Before her coaching career began, she played lacrosse four years for the University of California at Berkeley, scoring 14 goals and leading the team weight-room workouts.
Fitting, because Queisser is in for some heavy lifting on a team that has to play an NCAA-minimum eight games this season before it can acquire its first class of recruits.
After first sending out a campus e-mail to spread word of the team's existence, Queisser had an interest meeting, then tryouts and has spent the interim teaching her "survivors" the finer points of the game.
Of the 19 players remaining from 35 at tryouts, only six have ever played lacrosse before.
They're young, too. Eight are freshman, six are sophomores, four are juniors, and the team features a lone senior, Adrianne Dettler.
"They're extremely athletic, very competitive, very driven," Queisser said. "I don't have to teach these girls how to be athletes. They're already athletes. I just have to make them into lacrosse players."
The season is just seven games long and ends April 5. FLC's first six games come on the road before their season opener April 3, a rematch against Regis.
Four recruits have committed for next season, and Queisser said three are "on the fence."
The Skyhawks will be in an independent league to begin with, but Queisser expects eventually to compete in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference league.
Fellow RMAC school Regis is FLC's only Division II opposition this season, with all other games coming against Division III schools.