SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2012
No place like home for JU
It seems like a month ago the JU women’s lacrosse was in Gainesville playing Florida (it actually was Feb. 15). The players are ready for another contest and to get into a seasonal routine; the coaches are ready for the same.
The Dolphins (0-1) will get their collective wish Sunday when they play host to Siena (0-1) in the team’s home opener at D.B. Milne Field at 1 p.m.
“I don’t think the game could come any sooner,’’ coach Mindy McCord said. “I wish we had a game in between because this week has felt like a long week. It was nice in that we had the great last weekend with the men’s game (at EverBank Field in the Moe’s Southwest Grille Classic) and having moments like that in lacrosse in our city are awesome. Then you have to get back and refocus.’’
JU turns its attention to the Saints who are on a southern swing and staredt their season Friday with a 23-5 loss to Florida. The Gators beat JU 14-5.
Last season, the Saints were 8-8 overall and 3-3 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
They return three key players from last season, attackers Deirdre McQuillan and Kristin McMillan and midfielder Michelle Andreo. McQuillan had 30 goals in 2011 while McMillan had 26 and Andreo 21. Goal keeper Kristin Concordia, who started all 16 games last season, returns with her .454 save percentage.
The Dolphins will attempt to return to their preferred style of play – fast paced, aggressive defense and a run and gun offense.
Because of Florida’s scoring prowess, JU used a slower game in the opener and proved to themselves they can play that way if need be.
“We’re back to our run and gun style of play and want to go back to capitalizing on our transitions game,’’ McCord said. “There are moments in game where you have to slow down but now instead of possession time, possession amounts and how many shots we want to get. As soon as we had practice and scrimmage this week and said we were scrimmaging run and gun the team was really excited. They think four minute possessions are boring.’’
Nonetheless, she is happy with the lessons learned in the 14-5 loss to the Gators.
“I think we can play both types system and that was encouraging to know that,’’ McCord said. “We were in a game with opportunities (against Florida) and the thing we needed to eliminate were the horrific turnovers on the offensive end. The opportunities were there.’’
JU will be attempting to keep alive a six-game home win streak started last year.
“We’ve been very successful on our home turf and to be able to play an opponent we haven’t seen before and have that first home game is exciting for us,’’ McCord said.
In fact, in their last 12 games dating back to the inaugural 2010 season, the Dolphins have a 10-2 record in games played on campus (either at Milne Field or Ashley Sports Complex). The Siena game is the first of eight consecutive home games the Dolphins will have.
On the heels of the Siena game, the team will meet Detroit Tuesday in its first National Lacrosse Conference game of the year.
McCord insists one has nothing to do with the other.
“The only opponent that can beat you that day is the opponent you are playing,’’ she said. “It’s one game at a time and we’ll focus on Detroit Monday.’’
- Jim Nasella