Lauren Schwarzmann knew her first head coaching job in college lacrosse would not be easy. Mount St. Mary's last had a winning season in 2007, and Schwarzmann clearly understood the task she faced when accepting the job July 8, 2014.
Schwarzmann was determined to change the culture of the program, add talent to the roster and transform the Mount into winners. It's been a tough task since she took over the job, but one she's enjoyed sharing with her younger sister, Katie, an assistant coach with the team.
Both sisters are from the Baltimore area and starred in high school at Century in Carroll County.
Lauren Schwarzmann, 29, then played at Johns Hopkins before working as an assistant coach at Cincinnati, Stanford and San Diego State. She also played on the U.S. national team.
Katie Schwarzmann, 24, is a graduate assistant who coached for the Mount last season before her older sister arrived. She played at Maryland and became only the third women's player to win consecutive Tewaaraton Awards, given annually to the most outstanding college lacrosse player. She's also played on the national team and is now finishing her MBA at the Mount.
"She's not very far removed from the college scene herself, and she gives great perspective," Lauren Schwarzmann said. "I really trust her. She's my best friend. I really value her."
Katie Schwarzmann, an assistant coach with Dana Cahill, said it's easy to see the positive influence her older sister has already had on the program.
"She's definitely brought a lot of good to the program," she said. "She's just very positive and bringing a lot of energy. Last year, we had a pretty tough season. She's come here and instilled some confidence in the players. They want to get out and improve, and that's a testament to her."
Both sisters agreed this is going to be a program that needs to grow in different ways. The Mount has 20 players on this year's team, and Lauren Schwarzmann wants 30-35 players on the roster at some point.
The head coach is well aware she won't be turning this team around in one season, and the Mount has struggled this spring. The team was 3-9 as of April 16, with a seven-game losing streak from March 7-April 3.
"Are we changing things now, in terms of wins and losses? Not necessarily, but we're definitely changing the culture of [the program]," Lauren Schwarzmann said. "The wins will come as we continue to grow, and learn from our mistakes and add pretty good depth to our team. It's a process."
One of the Mount's toughest losses came Feb. 21, when UMBC pulled out a 5-4 victory during a snow-shortened game. The Mount hung with the talented Retrievers throughout the game, and UMBC head coach Amy Slade said she has no doubt the Schwarzmann sisters will turn things around.
"First and foremost, they're great people and great lacrosse players," Slade said. "They're doing the right things. They're taking it back to the basics, kind of starting from the ground up. They just get the job done by doing the basics really well."
Re-teaching the game, transforming the culture and changing the way things are handled in the program are what Lauren Schwarzmann must focus on during the next few years. Mount St. Mary's hasn't really been a winner in women's lacrosse, and she wants to change that.
She's glad to have earned that chance at the Mount -- and having her sister by her side makes the whole thing even more enjoyable.
"I feel extremely lucky to have her on staff," Lauren Schwarzmann said. "We're here to make [the players] better and more confident in what they're doing. It's great that we get to spend quality time together."