JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JU women’s lacrosse head coach Mindy McCord said she wanted a challenging non-conference schedule to get her team ready for National Lacrosse Conference play. The Dolphins will try and parlay that experience into tangible results when it opens NLC competition against first-place High Point on Friday afternoon. Game time is set for 4 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field.
JU (5-4) is coming off a 22-2 win over LIU in its previous contest. The 20-goal differential was the highest in the two-year history of the program, beating the previous record of 17 that came in a 19-2 victory over Liberty last year. The current Dolphins also tied a record from that contest for the fewest goals allowed. Â Â
The Dolphins will face a High Point (6-2, 1-0) squad that entered the week with the highest winning percentage among the eight NLC members. The Panthers already boast five players who have cracked the double-digit goal mark, led by Grace Gaeng. Gaeng has tallied 22 goals through her first eight games, racking up 13 assists, 35 points and a .489 shooting percentage.
Â “We are very excited to start conference play,” McCord said. “High Point is a talented team and we are looking forward to putting our systems to the test. We hope to use our non-conference experience and momentum going into this weekend.”Â
Freshman Morgan Derner continues to be JU’s hottest scorer, recording 19 goals in a five-game stretch. The attacker is coming off a seven-goal, eight-point effort versus the Blackbirds and her 23 total goals is 13 more than the next closet teammate (Ellyn Spangenberg).
JU saw 13 players score against LIU, including 10 non-starters. Freshman midfielder Kaitlin Stewart scooped up a career-best three ground balls and caused two turnovers. Fellow first-year attackers Ally Dell and Angela Sperbeck both scored the first goals of their respective collegiate careers.
On the defensive side, junior Jessica Hotchkiss notched her first assist of the season, won three draw controls and collected four ground balls. Rachel Hannon also won three draw controls.
The Dolphins will try to replicate that possession advantage against a High Point squad that is thriving in its first year of existence. The Panthers are scoring an average of 14.20 goals per game while holding opponents to just eight goals. High Point also utilizes a high-pressure defense, causing 141 turnovers.
Â Following the High Point contest, JU will conclude a stretch of eight games without a true road contest when it faces Davidson on Sunday at noon at D.B. Milne Field in another conference matchup.