Lacrosse Looks to Make a Comeback in A-10 Play

Drew Eastland ‘21 

Sports Editor

Freshman phenom Braeden Dial competes with an opponent during a draw. Dial has already been named A-10 Rookie of the Week three times. Photographs by John Crawford ‘20

The Women’s lacrosse team has ridden their roller coaster season to an even keel 7-5 record. After starting the season red-hot winning their first six games, the Women’s lacrosse team fell into a slump. The team has lost five of their last six games, and lost four straight from March 14th through March 24th.   

Oddly enough, the Wildcats have struggled to win contests at home. Their home record of 3-4 falls short of the team’s preseason buzz and expectations. Home turf struggles have become a trend for the lacrosse team. In three of the last four seasons their home record was at or below .500.

 Despite the recent string of losses, the team remains positive going forward. Their recent losing streak involved a treacherous stretch of games including a road contest at No. 13 Duke, and a tough game against rival UMass.

“We faced some pretty tough opponents after [the winning streak] and had a bit of a lull when we headed into conference,” Lindsay Rufolo ’19 said. “We are still working out the kinks, but we are heading into the third week of conference with a lot of work to do and a lot of determination to do it.”

Playing tough competition can help build team chemistry and provide an opportunity for less experienced players to take their game to the next level.

“We definitely are a young team, so learning how to match up against some of the top teams in the country is important for our development,” Hayden Callahan ’22 said. “Games like those give us some quality experience and learning opportunities.”

The ‘Cats currently sit 8th in the A-10 Conference. To qualify for the A-10 Conference tournament, the team must finish in the top six. It will be an uphill battle to make the postseason, but if the team focuses on their strengths, they should be able to right the ship.

One of those strengths is the team’s high draw win percentage; a draw is like a face off in ice hockey. With a draw win percentage of 60 percent, the ‘Cats rank seventh in the nation in this statistic. They also lead the A-10 in this measure.

“We have some really awesome draw girls,” Callahan commented. “[This] is huge because we can usually get possession of the ball off the draw, and that gives us better attacking opportunities.”

The team also does a great job of distributing the ball around while limiting the passes opponents can make. For the season, the ‘Cats have 74 assists while opponents have only managed to connect for 47 against them.

“We have very versatile players, not just one or two all-stars,” Callahan said. “Our goals are usually very well-rounded, and everyone contributes to the scoring play.”

The team’s season will be defined by both the tangible measures: goals, assists, and draws, and by the intangibles. One intangible that players emphasizes was the energy level the team needs to maintain for success down the road.

“Energy,” Rufolo stressed. “[We need] 100% energy all over the field, off the field, in and out of practice, and all the time; energy is everything.”

The team has five games remaining and will look to push for a place in the A-10 tournament. The recent string of disappointing results makes it difficult to remember this team is still 7-5 and has more than enough firepower to make a late season push in the A-10.

“I am looking forward to the weekend we head to Richmond and VCU; it would be awesome to get two wins on the road,” Rufolo previewed, “Every game from here on out is crucial.”

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