WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012
JU women preparing for foreign invasion
The JU women’s lacrosse team gets its first taste of action Wednesday and the Dolphins aren’t shying away from top-notched competition.

The defending National Lacrosse Conference champs will be meeting world-renowned Team England in a scrimmage set for today at 5:30 p.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex on the JU campus.

“We really look forward to having Team England come over,’’ JU head coach Mindy McCord said. “It’s a great opportunity to play an international team and it gives us a real testing point to see the work we’ve done so far.’’

For McCord and her staff, it’s also an opportunity to continue assess players.

“We assess our players every practice and this is another opportunity to assess our team,’’ she said. “We’ve been playing a lot of different people together so it will be a good assessment of finding the right combinations of people. Typically, when you’re preparing for a game you’re going to look how the practices have gone and put your best foot forward in terms of a starting lineup and key substitutions, but we hope to get as many players experience as we can.’’

The Dolphins were 14-5 overall last season and won the National Lacrosse Conference regular-season title with a 7-0 record.

Team England, the national women’s team, departed home Tuesday for a tour of the United States which begins here. They also will be playing in this weekend’s Lacrosse Challenge in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The touring squad is part of newly formed Elite which comprises members of the senior and under-19 squads. England won the Homer Internationals in 2011 and in six World Cups prior to 2009 won either silver or bronze.

“The England Team are heading stateside for a tough tour of six games in five days, facing the very best US players and colleges,’’ team manager Alex Harle said. “ The squad is extremely excited to be starting with one of the very best, Jacksonville, and are very grateful to the players and coaches for offering to host us for one of the legendary tailgates – something we have yet to do properly in England.’’

The teams will have a post-game reception at JU.

The Dolphins have been going through a rigorous training camp leading to their first NCAA game at Florida Feb. 15. Getting to play against new competition is a good break.

“I’m 100 percent excited,’’ sophomore Brittney Orashen said. “ It’s my first real game since high school. Our fall ball games were good preparation but this is extremely exciting.’’

“We will be able to see what we need to keep working on, what we feel like we’ve been successful with,’’ McCord said. “You get to play against yourselves, which is good competition, but when you get to play an opponent it’s always a great opportunity. We still have a lot of practice before our first NCAA game so we’re hoping to get some good game film and help prepare for the season.’’

-- Jim Nasella