THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2011
Women’s lacrosse to take on Fresno State and Oregon in season’s first road trip
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A cross-country flight will take the Dolphins to Eugene, Ore. as the JU women’s lacrosse team will face Fresno State and Oregon in back-to-back days to jump-start the schedule’s road portion.

The Dolphins will be looking to sustain momentum after going 2-1 on a season-opening three-game homestand. JU defeated Denver in its previous game and will face a Fresno State squad still looking for its first win since launching the program in 2009. That contest will be on Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

The Bulldogs (0-2) will be looking to snap a 30-game losing streak and shrug off two blowout losses to Stanford and UC Davis, respectively. Fresno State has been out-scored, 42-9, this season. Those numbers could be encouraging for a Dolphins offense averaging 12.33 goals per game.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to go out to the West Coast and play two big state schools,” JU head coach Mindy McCord said. “We still have a lot to work on and we respect each opponent. Our objective is to go out there and play our game.”

Attacker Nikki Erdely posted her first career hat trick and enters the weekend as JU’s leading scorer with six goals. Fellow freshman Chelsea Watts also enters the West Coast-swing on a hot streak after recording consecutive two-goal games. The middie tallied her first two collegiate goals against No. 17 Florida before duplicating the feat against the Pioneers.

McCord’s team has been at its best late in games. JU is out-scoring opponents, 22-12, in the second half and boasts a balanced offense. Ten players already have two-or-more goals with the team’s shot-on-goal percentage at an impressive .720.

Clutch shooting from the team’s youngest players has also been a key for JU. Freshman Morgan Derner was credited with both of the team’s game-winning goals this season, comprising half of her four overall goals through the midfielder’s first three NCAA games.

“We have a lot of young players and with eight freshmen getting significant playing time, we are just focusing on gaining experience and getting better,” McCord said.

JU was 1-4 in road contests last year. The Dolphins will be playing Fresno State in a neutral site contest, meaning only one of JU’s first seven games this season are true road contests. That matchup will take place Sunday against Oregon at Pape Field at 2 p.m., where JU will try and extract revenge against a Ducks team that won, 22-6, in the first all-time meeting between the schools at Jacksonville in 2010.

Oregon will be seeking its first win of the season after a 12-11 overtime home loss to No. 20 Hofstra in the season opener.

- By Brian Bohl