The UR Women’s lacrosse team began its season this past week in Fauver Stadium. After facing some tough competition, the ‘Jackets ended a string of four home games with a 1-3 record.

UR battled snow and sleet to challenge SUNY Cortland on Tuesday and then Nazareth College on Thursday. Nationally-ranked Cortland was 15th in the most recent Division III poll from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. Nazareth was ranked 20th.

“Everyone’s tough in the Liberty League,” head coach Liz Monte said. “You want to play those tough teams in the beginning so you can build from them.”

UR’s defense was strong and goals were spread well amongst the attack, but it was not enough to upend either Nazareth or Cortland.

In the game against Cortland, junior midfielders Abby Woodward and Lindsay Dakin scored two goals apiece and junior defender Sierra LaVenture-Volz had one goal and an assist. Sophomore attacker Danielle Mondro and freshman attacker Chelsea Audin each had one goal.

Junior Leslie Dube made 18 saves in goal.

“One of her greatest strengths is anticipating the play,” Monte said of Dube’s performance. “She makes things happen for us; we had a possession change because of her own hustle.”

In the game against Nazareth, UR could not penetrate its three-goal halftime deficit.

The 23-21 shot advantage by the ‘Jackets was led by freshmen attack Allyson Hogan and middie Andrea DeFilippo, as well as veterans Dakin and Mondro. The final score was 5-11.Although both games ended in a loss, they were certainly strong building blocks for the team.

When UR faced off against the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons on Saturday, they were ready for them.

The ‘Jackets stepped up their level of play and dominated the game against the Red Dragons. Most of the ‘Jackets goals were scored off of well-won free positions.

With junior middie Marlena Fisher’s full-field sprints out of the defense, senior defender Mimi Hong’s aggressive checks, Dakin’s ball placement and Dube’s quick reaction time in goal, the ‘Jackets were an unstoppable force, eventually coming out on top with a 14-13 win.

On Tuesday, UR played SUNY Brockport. The score was tied at the half, but Brockport got ahead in the second half, and the UR could not close the gap in the end, losing 11-13. Midfield excelled in this game with quick recovery of ground balls and smooth transitions. UR’s goals were scored by Woodward, Mondro, Dakin and Hogan. Junior attacker Mary Kate Hannan and sophomore attacker Amanda Case both registered assists.

The strength of UR’s team this year will be in the balanced scoring approach of the offense combined with the skill of the veteran defense. Similarly, the meshing of new players and new roles on the team for returners should generate even more depth to this talented team.

“We have a strong core returning,” Monte said. “We also have some exciting freshmen – it’s a real balance. We’re looking to see how the balance works out.”

Seasoned veterans – including the four All-Liberty League players from last year, Hong, Woodward, Dakin and Fisher – meshing with fresh talent like Hogan should prove to be fatal for the Yellowjackets’ opponents.

The ‘Jackets pick up play again in Fauver on Saturday against SUNY Geneseo at 1 p.m.

Bucarey is a member of the class of 2010.

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