THURSDAY, MARCH 07, 2013
Women’s Lacrosse Takes on William & Mary This Friday
Dolphins looking to extend three game win streak

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville women’s lacrosse team celebrates Professors Day this Friday as they welcome William and Mary to D.B. Milne Field for a 3:30 pm contest. The Dolphins will honor their “Professors of the Year” during the game. This past fall the JU team achieved their highest semester GPA in team history with a 3.51.

The Dolphins have won three straight following a 14-4 win over Old Dominion last Saturday. JU (4-2) was led by junior Morgan Derner (Lake Mary, Fla.) with three goals and an assist. Junior Brittney Orashen (Lebanon, N.J.) also added a hat trick with three goals while junior Ali Hoffman (Gambrills, Md.) and junior Nikki Erdely (Cumming, Ga) had two goals each.

“One of the great things about our team is that it makes no difference who is playing at any given time,” said JU Head Coach Mindy McCord. “The ‘System’ is all about teamwork and we have faith that every one of our players from our eight seniors to our freshman class. Anyone of our players can play at a high level in any given game.”

The attack bombarded Old Dominion with 44 shots in the 14 goal outpouring. Still, Coach McCord says that the team has much to work on.

“We shot a lot but we did not shoot as well as we are capable. Defensively we played very strong. We utilized seven different defenders and seven midfielders which allowed us to do a variety of things, but we are nowhere near our peak abilities. We hope each game we improve and continue growing and challenging ourselves. I am proud of the effort our girls have given in practice. They are a pleasure to coach.”

Against ODU the Dolphins record setting attack played without the services of leading scorer Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) who was unavailable due to an injury.

“We hope Taylor is back for this weekend but we will have to wait and see,” saod Coach McCord. “In the meantime, we have seven or eight other attackers who are filling in well.”

JU’s top goal scorers, McCord, senior Amanda Hurley (Columbus, Ga.) and Derner have scored on 67 percent (33-49) of their shot attempts, yet their 33 goals count for less than 45 percent of the team’s 79 goal output this year.

“It’s a credit to the unselfish nature of the “System” and our players desire to utilize multiple weapons when we play,” said McCord. “You never know who is going to go off and have a great game. We hope they are all hot at the same time. If we ever get to that stage of our game plan look out!”

William and Mary (2-3) is coming off a 21-3 win over Stetson last week. The Tribe is a historically strong program, earning double digit win totals in four of the past five seasons.

“They played very well against Duke, establishing an early lead and in recent years they have shown to be formidable against top-20 opposition,” said McCord. “Other than a tough outing early in the season against Ohio State, they have built a lot of momentum around a veteran group. We expect them to be an extremely strong opponent.”

The Tribe have veteran units all over the field, led by the Colonial Athletic Conference’s top ranked attack in goals (12.6) and points (18.6). They will also challenge the midfield of JU with the CAA’s top draw control unit, averaging 14.4 per game.

Senior leadership is at the core of the Tribe’s success. Their attack is led by 2012 all-conference performer Krystin Mackrides. The senior notched a season high five goals against No. 15 Ohio State.  Junior attacker Taelor Salmon was selected as the CAA Player of the Week on Feb. 18 after she totaled nine points on seven goals and two assists in contests against American and No. 7 Duke.

Seniors dominate the midfield for the Tribe. Caitlin Murphy and preseason All-CAA performer Katie Stillwell lead a group that includes one of the Tribe’s leading scorers in 2012, junior Jenna Dougherty.

The veteran theme continues on the defensive front with senior Brett Hayes. Hayes is a tall and aggressive defender who is evolving into a strong transitional player. Fellow senior Hannah Clark anchors the defense along with returning defensive leader Maggie Bermingham, the Tribe’s leading defender in causing turnovers in 2012.

Junior goal keeper Colleen Nofi is establishing herself as one of the top net minders in the CAA this year averaging 9.8 saves per game.

McCord added, “When you look at William and Mary they are a team that could compete for the CAA championship as they continue to grow under the leadership of a strong coaching staff. We will have to play our best game on Friday because we are aware of the strengths that they will bring to Jacksonville.”

The Dolphins have a quick turnaround following the contest against William and Mary. No. 7 Duke comes to D.B. Milne Field next Wednesday for an afternoon contest. The Blue Devils recently came from a 1-3 deficit to beat the Tribe 15-8 in Durham.

Follow the JU Dolphins and Coach McCord on Twitter @JUwomensLax and on Facebook at Facebook.com/julacrosse