Jacksonville University was an automatic qualifier in the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament and will take on No. 17 Denver in the opening round on Friday, May 9 in Gainesville, Fla. First draw is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game will be live streamed on GatorZone.com.
The Dolphins will be in search of a better ending in the upcoming rematch of last year’s first round contest. JU has become quite familiar with the opponent from the Mile-High City as they dropped a 14-7 loss to the Pioneers in the Dolphins first-ever NCAA postseason appearance.
The decision evened the all-time series to 1-1; in the teams’ first meeting JU knocked off the visiting Denver squad 10-7.
“Sports create a lot of opportunities for good stories, but last year's team and Denver game are different than this year's,” said Assistant Coach Paul McCord. “I think time spent focusing on redemption may be better used preparing to perform with confidence and skill. If we bring the game that we have had the last seven games, the score will take care of itself. This JU team is very different than last year's.”
“Last year, Denver owned the draw and ground ball game. That's never good when you are playing a fairly even opponent. You lose every game if that's the case because in a game of equals, possession rules the day. We want to play the game like we have and run the system. The best way to win this game is to play our game and execute it with confidence, speed and smarts.”
The winner of Friday’s game will advance to play No. 4 Florida on Sunday, May 11 at 1 p.m.
JU’S LAST OUTING
The Dolphins (15-4, 5-0 A-Sun) won the Atlantic Sun tournament title for the second-straight season when they trumped Detroit 18-4 in the championship game.
En route to earning All-Tournament honors, Taylor McCord led JU with seven points on four goals and three assists.
Tournament MVP honors went to keeper Asia Moore who seems to be peaking at just the right time. In the two conference games, Moore allowed just two goals while posting nine saves.
“The program has never played lacrosse as well as we have over the past several weeks,” continued McCord. “I don't know if its nerves as much as the team feeling more comfortable with who they are and the game they play. It's been great to see as a coach- less coaching and more directing means that the reigns of the team are clearly in the player's hands.”
Friday’s game will see two Remenapp’s take the field at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium. However, they will be wearing two different uniforms. Sisters Abby (JU) and Jill (Denver) Remenapp played a season of lacrosse together at Century High School but have never played against each other.
In three seasons at Denver, older sister Jill has compiled an impressive resume. The attacker has started in all 19 games for the Pioneers this season and is second on the team in points (72) with 25 goals and a team-high 47 assists.
Abby is playing in her first season with the Dolphins and in 10 games she is definitely playing her best lacrosse now. She scored her first collegiate goal in the 24-3 win over Howard and added two ground balls and a caused turnover.
When asked how it feels to be playing against her sister, Abby had this to say:
Q: Are you really competitive with each other?
“We definitely do have the sibling rivalry going on! But this is the first time we have played against each other, so it should be interesting.”
Q: Have you guys talked about this game?
“Jill called me right after the selection show was aired. We both were really excited, not only to play each other but also to see each other. There hasn't been much trash talking going on!”
Q: How does your family feel about you two playing each other?
“My family is really excited. They've been down in Jacksonville to watch my games, Denver to watch Jill's games and made it to Allison, my other sister's, games. I think they are relieved to have a game that is being played at the same time and place, so everyone will be in around!”
Denver (18-1, 9-0 MPSF) is currently on a school best 16-game winning streak. The Pioneers claimed the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament Championship for the first time in school history following a 14-11 win over No. 18 Stanford.
Meredith Harris, who is currently ranked 12th in the nation in scoring, guides the Pioneers offense with 56 goals and 18 assists. Sonorah Vinyard is the team’s defensive leader with 57 draws, 31 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers.
“They're a good team,” concluded McCord. “We have them well scouted and we highly respect them but in order for JU to win it comes down to us playing our game. Lately our game has been one of the best. It's been fun. That's the key to JU prevailing on Friday afternoon.”