THURSDAY, APRIL 07, 2011
First-place women’s lacrosse team travels to Motor City to face Detroit on Friday
The JU women’s lacrosse team proved it can beat the best teams in its conference with two strong wins last weekend. The Dolphins will now try and show it can handle prosperity when it heads to the Motor City to face Detroit in a National Lacrosse Conference matchup on Friday at 2 p.m. local time.

JU (9-4, 4-0 NLC) sits in sole possession of first place in the conference with a five-game winning streak and three regular season games remaining. Should the Dolphins win out, head coach Mindy McCord’s team will be the top seed in the eight-team league tournament later this month at Davidson, N.C.

Two of the National Lacrosse Conference’s top-three teams came to the Dolphins campus last weekend for key regular season matchups that could determine the league’s top seed. JU answered the challenge, rolling past Liberty and Longwood by a combined score of 41-14. Both the Flames and Lancers were undefeated in conference play before facing the Dolphins.

Detroit (1-8, 0-4) is looking to snap a four-game losing streak and record the first conference win of the season. JU won both meeting against the Titans last season, including a 17-13 win in the consolation round of the NLC Tournament.

“After a good weekend, we’re looking forward to going back on the ride and continuing to find success as a team,” McCord said. “Detroit has some talented players and we can’t afford to make the mistake of taking them lightly.”

Freshman attacker Morgan Derner took him the league’s “Player of the Week” award after torching Liberty and Longwood with a hat trick in each game as part of a 10-point two-game swing. Derner has tallied a team-leading 35 goals and 45 points through her first 13 collegiate games.

With five more points, Derner can become the first player in program history to crack 50 in a single season. She also needs just five more scores to become the first 40-goal scorer. Cassie Campasano currently holds both JU records after she scored 38 goals and tallied 47 points in the program’s inaugural campaign last year.

Midfielder Chelsea Watts scored a hat trick against Liberty and followed that up with a four-goal output in an 18-10 win over Longwood. The freshman is third on the team with 15 goals through her first 13 NCAA contests. Like Derner, Watts has also been credited with two game-winning goals.

It hasn’t just been the freshmen contributing to the offense. Sophomore Ellyn Spangenberg is second on the Dolphins with 18 goals and 22 points. The middie also recorded a hat trick versus Longwood, needing just five shots to rack up three goals.

JU boasts 10 double-digit goal-scorers, including Amanda Hurley, Nikki Erdely, Abigail Warnken, Ali Hoffman, Kaitlin Stewart, Sarah Michel and Jen Cosgrove. In contrast, Detroit’s offense features only three such scorers. Leading the way for the Titans is junior middie Emily Boissonneault, whose 27 goals comprises 30 percent of Detroit’s total offense. Overall, the Titans have been out-scored, 154-79.

The Dolphins defense will look to contain Boissonneault, who has a team-leading 66 shots while also causing 17 turnovers. JU faced a similar key offensive threat in Longwood’s 30-goal scorer Cara O’Brien and held the attacker to just one goal through the first 59 minutes.

Sophomore defender Rachel Hannon keyed the unit that stymied O’Brien, causing four turnovers overall versus the Lancers. Junior Jessica Hotchkiss also caused three turnovers and Albino came off the bench to register two CTs, contributing to the pressure that prompted Longwood to turn the ball over 24 times.

That could be bad news for Detroit. The Titans have turned the ball over 194 times for a 24.25 per game average.

Following the Detroit game, the Dolphins will fly to Washington, D.C. to face Howard on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Bison (3-9, 0-5) lost to JU, 20-5, in the only meeting between the schools last season.

- By Brian Bohl