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Women’s lacrosse completes seventh season, could reach varsity status

April 19, 2007

Beginning in 2001, the UW-River Falls women’s lacrosse team has been an active club sport on campus.

“It was [started] by a student here at UWRF who was interested in lacrosse... We didn’t have a team, so she started her own,” said current club president Maria Hockert.

Hockert said it has been hard to get the team started and find girls who are interested and want to play.

Since lacrosse is a club sport, they receive annual funding from the school Leadership Development and Programming Board (LDPB), but also do fundraising by selling T-shirts.

The team would like to make lacrosse a varsity sport, “but a lot of work is going to have to be put into it,” Hockert said.

Title IX emphasizes that participation levels in sports should match gender percentages on campus.

Currently, the team plays in the Upper Midwest Women’s Lacrosse League (UMWLL). The UMWLL is a 14-team league with teams from schools all over Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“The UMWLL has been formed to help promote and regulate the sport of women’s collegiate club lacrosse in the Upper Midwest, specifically though not exclusively in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota,” according to the Web site.

The River Falls team plays in the South Division, along with the University of Minnesota, University of St. Thomas, St. Olaf College, Carleton College, Gustavus Adolphus College and UW-La Crosse. The North Division includes College of St. Benedict, Bethel University, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Hamline University, UW-Stout, MSU-Moorhead and UW-Eau Claire.

The River Falls roster consists of 15 players: one goalie, three defenders, ten attackers, and two midfielders. All women are welcome to come and play, Hockert said.

“Experience or no experience ... we just want to have fun,” she said.

As with most club sports, there is no paid coach; the team is coached by attacker Kara Vier.

This year the team has made steps in the right direction after finishing 0-7 overall for the 2006 season. The team finished this season in fifth place in the South Division with a 3-6 overall record and a 2-4 record in conference play.

The team’s wins this year were an 11-0 victory over UW-Stout on April 10, a 12-6 victory over Gustavus Adolphus on April 14 and a 13-3 win over UW-La Crosse on April 15.

Vier led the team in most offensive stats, including 21 goals, 23 points and 2.87 points per game. Junior Ashley Warren was strong on offense with 16 goals, 20 points, 4 assists and 2.50 points per game. Sophomore Ashley Pillsbury led the team in assists with 5. Freshman Lisa Palm played all nine games at goalie with 114 saves while allowing 66, for a .63 save percentage, which was third in the league.

Hockert said the team is looking ahead to next season.

“Each year we have progressed greatly and we hope to continue the tradition we have of improvement,” she said. “Next year we would like to secure a spot in the playoffs, and with the money given by LDPB, we are hoping to get a coach.”

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