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JU Women: On the Other Side of the Field

via press release – photo via JU web site   There was a major celebration at D.B. Milne Field this past Sunday. Women’s lacrosse players were throwing their sticks in the air, coaches were getting doused with Gatorade, fans were high-fiving each other, and there were plenty of happy tears shed as the Jacksonville University team claimed its fourth ASUN Conference Championship title. Brittney Orashen needed a moment to take it all in. Just a few years ago, the two-time ASUN Defensive Player of the Year suited up for the Dolphins, helping to guide the team to three league titles, and on Sunday, she stood on the sideline as an assistant coach. “It was a much different feeling winning this weekend compared to past wins as a player,” said Orashen. “The gratification I received seeing the joy and excitement on the players faces made all of the time and preparation leading up to these games so worth it. “As a player, you do what your coaches ask of you, and as a coach seeing the players execute what you have asked of them shows the trust and belief in the sets we instill at practice.” Orashen made the transition from player to coach after receiving a master’s of business administration from Jacksonville in 2015, and entered the role with “more experience than any prior coach in JU history,” said head coach Mindy McCord. “Initially, the transition was challenging considering that I had played with majority of the girls on the team,” Orashen recalls. “It was hard to bridge the gap with some of the upperclassmen in my first year. This year, the players truly embraced my role with open arms. I now have different and personable relationships with players that are unbelievable because they have taken the time to get to know me, the same way that I like to get to know them.” She left her senior campaign ranked alongside the NCAA career leaders in caused turnovers and draw controls, and was also JU’s all-time leader in ground balls and caused turnovers and ranked second in draws. Orashen scored more than 100 goals in her Dolphin career, and was named a ‘Break Out Performer’ in her junior season for a four-goal effort against nationally-ranked Denver in the NCAA Tournament. In just a few days, though this time will be in a different capacity, Orashen joins head coaches Mindy and Paul McCord in guiding the Dolphins to another NCAA Tournament appearance. The Dolphins will take on the Trojans of Southern California Friday at 4 p.m. in the opening round, and nine players – eight freshmen and one transfer – will be making their postseason debut. In her time in uniform, Orashen has taken on Massachusetts (2015) and Denver (2013 & 2014) in the Big Dance, and imparts this wisdom on her team – “play to our strengths.” “As a staff, we find what each player’s strengths are and really try to build them up around that. I always tell them that knowing their teammates strengths and weaknesses is one of the most important parts of the game. If you know what they are good at, you can set them up for success.” The Dolphins enter the postseason with a regular season and tournament championship, coaches who are familiar with what it takes to compete at the next level and the confidence to trust the system.