The JU women’s lacrosse team opens Wednesday at Florida (6:30 p.m.) This week, a three-part look at the various team units, attack, midfield and defense/goalkeeping. Today: the midfielders.
Strengths: Speed and a lot of it. The unit has plenty of players that can make a difference and apply pressure in the transition game. Assistant coach Paul McCord has nine reliable players which gives him a variety of combinations with which to work and he has no qualms shuffling players in and out. “They’ve all earned the right to play,’’ he said. “It’s a good problem to have.’’ For example: The team can look to captain Ellyn Spangenberg for consistency; sophomore Brittney Orashen for scoring; freshman Jess Worcester for possession and junior Abby Warnken, described as “the glue” to pull things together. They also will be looking for plenty of contributions from Chelsea Watts, Rachael Krell, the team’s fastest player, and sophomore Kaitlin Stewart who eventually may be the best of the group.
Weaknesses: The group continues on working to get comfortable with loose balls. Sometimes they get the ball up quickly, sometimes not and it boils down to their confidence factor. The more they play, of course, the better they’ll be. And there’s the worry of a young team – the unit has five juniors with the remainder being freshmen and sophomores.
Outlook: If the middies can’t be good the team’s outlook is rough. It’s a group that can run and was a key to so many fast breaks last season. They create numbers when they’re feeling it and when they’re feeling it they can compete with virtually anyone. When they’re on their game, they are fun to watch.