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SMC Lacrosse

SMC still searching for win

| Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saint Mary’s is focused on improvement as it tries to overcome early-season struggles and get its first win Saturday against conference opponent Kalamazoo.

Their scheduled Sunday game against Illinois Tech was postponed due to unplayable field conditions, and the Belles (0-6, 0-0 MIAA) have now had a week and a half since their last game, a lopsided 20-3 loss to Concordia on March 22. Belles coach Amy Long said improving weather and field conditions have allowed them to begin practicing outside during this stretch, which has had a positive impact on the players.

“This week we were finally able to get out on our field for practice,” she said. “Everyone is excited to be outside, and everyone brings a greater energy to practice when we’re outside.”

Long also said these favorable conditions have helped them work on certain technical areas where they have been struggling.

“We are much more effective practicing ground balls and our midfield transition [when we practice] outside,” she said.

Like the Belles, the Hornets (2-4, 0-0) are in their inaugural season as a varsity lacrosse program. After beginning the season with two promising wins over Benedictine and Aurora, the Hornets have since lost their momentum and dropped four consecutive games, outscored 69-18 in that stretch. They most recently lost their home opener 17-2 against Keuka on Saturday. The game Wednesday will be the first conference matchup for both teams.

Freshman midfielder Anika Sproull has been a dominant force for Kalamazoo so far with a team-high 18 of the team’s 38 goals. She notched six goals in the win over Aurora and six more in a 13-12 loss to Thiel, also adding 25 draw controls.

For Saint Mary’s, freshman midfielder Aubrey Golembieski has led the offensive charge, netting 11 of the team’s 25 goals. She has also contributed 20 ground balls and 25 draw controls, each team-highs by a large margin. The next highest scorer is freshman defender Jackie Loesch, with five goals.

In the upcoming game against the Hornets, Long said she hopes to see continued growth from the offensive unit with a more balanced attack and better shot opportunities.

“I am looking forward to seeing our offense compete on Wednesday,” she said. “We continue to gain confidence in that end of the field, and we’re hoping to see a couple players score their first goals of the season.”

Long also said the team needs to focus on achieving simple goals if they want to win, such as minimizing turnovers, successfully transitioning through the midfield and securing more ground balls than Kalamazoo. This season, the Belles have had 124 turnovers compared to their opponents’ 87, and they have a 100 to 74 disadvantage in ground balls.

Saint Mary’s will travel to Kalamazoo to play the Hornets on Sunday at 7 p.m. at MacKenzie Field.

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