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Lacrosse earns bid to national tournament

April 21, 2011

The UW-River Falls women’s lacrosse team heads into this weekends playoff games with an undefeated record and a chance to participate in the national championship tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Falcons are currently ranked fourth in the nation according to powerlax, a website that spans coverage of men’s and women’s lacrosse across the country.

Junior captain Blair Benecke said the secrets behind the teams success are not what people might expect.

“Really when it comes down to it, we just have fun,” Benecke said. “There isn’t a whole lot behind our success other than enjoying the game.”

Benecke said that regardless of the fun factor, each member of the team has a specific job; a job that each player understands and carries out to a “T”.

“Our goaltending is solid, all the way down to our forwards,” Benecke said. “When you have a fully-rounded team like that, it’s going to be tough to beat us.”

With a blemish-free record, Benecke said that the team feels a little bit of extra pressure.

“We know that we are the team to beat,” Benecke said. “But we try not to think to much about our record…we just take it one game at a time.”

Junior Amanda Leeman said that although she is aware of the undefeated record, it is something she and the rest of the team try not to focus on.

“There is no doubt that we have a bulls-eye on our back,” Leeman said. “We just try to go out there and play lacrosse.”

Leeman added that teams who have fallen to the Falcons this season attribute their success to luck. Leeman said she takes offense to that.

“9-0 is not a fluke,” Leeman said. “We have a bunch of girls that like to go out there and just play…and that shows.”

Benecke added that strong team chemistry adds to an already skilled group of players.

“We all click really well,” Benecke said. “If you throw in that chemistry with how good we actually are, it makes for a tough game.”

Head Coach Lisa Palm said that the chemistry of the Falcons is what keeps her coming back to coach each year.

“I love it,” Palm said. “The reason I keep coming back each year is because of how awesome our team is, I love the chemistry.”

Palm said that the biggest strength of the lady Falcons is the depth the squad brings to the game.

“We have such a different dynamic this year than in past years,” Palm said. “We have five and six different people scoring for us each game.”

Palm added that if the Falcons have a kink in the armor, it would be scheduling.

“When our season is so short, it’s hard to get everyone together at a common time,” Palm said. “When we practice late at night, that’s one thing but it’s been tough.”

Palm and the Falcons, who finished 10-1 found out they will compete in the 2011 US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Association National Championships as the number eight seed.  The Falcons, 10-1, will face the number one seed Westminster College 15-3 in the opening round of the tournament May 5 in Scottsdale, Ariz.