FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2012
A pair of big tests heading into spring break for JU
Goalie Karli Tobin has picked up five wins this season.
Goalie Karli Tobin has picked up five wins this season.
Riding the high of a five-game win streak and an 11-game home winning streak, the JU women’s lacrosse team faces one of its crossroads tests the next two games.

The Dolphins won’t get much time to enjoy next week’s spring break as highly regarded Louisville invades D.B. Milne Field Saturday at noon followed three days later with a visit from nationally-ranked Cornell.

Louisville, which has beaten JU in their two meetings, comes in at 2-4 but two of their losses were to ranked teams – No. 1 Northwestern and No. Vanderbilt. They are led by Nikki Boltja and Jamie Redding who have combined for 38 goals this season.

“Louisville is a well-respected team and they’ve come out strong against us the last two years,’’ JU coach Mindy McCord said.

“We always love the great competition when we play them.’’ The Cardinals won 17-7 last year in Cumming, Ga., and 21-9 in the Dolphins’ first year in 2010.

McCord said she isn’t one to start getting hung up on a team’s previous efforts.

“In any game you have an opportunity,’’ she said. “We try not to compare other scores we really try to put our game plan together that we feel will be appropriate for each opponent and stay focused on that.’’

If having Louisville come calling weren’t enough, Tuesday Cornell, which is on the receiving votes list in the coaches poll this week and ranked 16th in the Inside Lacrosse poll, is in town.

“You try to stay focused on one game at a time,’’ McCord said. “We feel very fortunate to be bringing two great programs that are doing well in here and give us an opportunity to compete against them. We always feel the better the opponent the more we have an opportunity to learn and we hope to put our best foot forward and execute our game plan.’’

The Dolphins have some firepower of their own in a trio of sophomores who score goals in bunches.

Attackers Jen Cosgrove and Ali Hoffman lead the way with 14 goals each and now have last year’s top freshman scorer nationally, Morgan Derner, back from injury. Derner was shut out in her first game back on March 7 against Temple but had a hat trick last week against Monmouth. The Temple game ended a nine-game goal scoring streak for Derner which at the time was a school record.

That mark now has been taken over by sophomore midfielder Kaitlin Stewart who has recorded a goal in 11 consecutive games.

Jess Hotchkiss leads the team in ground balls with 16 while Morgan Basler has 12 and Hoffman 10.