Thursday, May 1, 2014

A-Sun Women's Lacrosse Continues to Grow the Game in League's Second Championship

Atlantic Sun Women’s Lacrosse approaches the league’s second-ever Championship with high hopes to continue to grow the game of women’s lacrosse.

The semifinal match-ups are set to start Friday, May 2nd as Jacksonville earned the top-seed after an undefeated season in conference play. The Dolphins are the reigning champions as they won the inaugural championship crown in 2013 and host the championship.

Head Coach of the Dolphins, Mindy McCord is thrilled at the opportunity that the league has to have an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament and continue to expand the Atlantic Sun’s Women’s Lacrosse Program.

 “We are so fortunate that the A-Sun decided to take on women’s lacrosse and have an automatic bid,” McCord says. “Being from a southern region and having newer programs that are able to compete against top programs around the country says a lot about this sport and is truly amazing.”

The Dolphins will start the defense of its championship crown vs. fourth-seeded Stetson in the semifinal contest. In 2013 the Hatters were a first year program that made the A-Sun championship. Now, entering the 2014 A-Sun Championship the squad has a little more experience under its belt.

“We are so excited to meet our goal and make the conference tournament again,” Stetson’s coach Brittney Dipper explained. “Part of that is due to our tough non-conference schedule we endured.”

In just their second year the Hatters faced a No. 3 ranked Syracuse and a No. 4 ranked Florida. “ It is great to tell my team what an honor it is that they are one of 14 teams that will get to see teams of such high caliber,” Dipper said.

Also, returning to the A-Sun Championship is Detroit as the squad made it to the championship final in 2013. 

The Titans are ready to face strong competition again as Head Coach Laura Maness said, “With us, coming back for the second time, we feel much more prepared. We know what we need to do and we are less nervous and ready to go.”

The Titans may have been her before, but they come in facing No. 2 Elon who is in its first season of action in the semifinal game. The Phoenix came away with an exciting 9-8 victory in the first match of conference action this season to begin its run to the second-seed.

With a new program, the Phoenix rely on freshmen to step up and act like veterans. “It’s exciting to be here,” A-Sun Coach of the Year Josh Hexter said. “We just worked really hard this year to get better with every game we played and to ultimately earn the two-seed was a testament to the hard work these young players have put in.”

We an A-Sun Championship crown and automatic bid on the line, it can be expected that these student-athletes are coming ready to compete with fire in their eyes. In just the second-ever Atlantic Sun Women’s Lacrosse Championship it is an exciting time to expand the sport of women’s lacrosse with several teams joining the league in the coming year. The A-Sun Championship Finale will be broadcast on CSS on Sunday, May 4th.

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