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Women’s lacrosse building momentum in fall season

October 18, 2012

The women’s lacrosse season doesn’t officially start until spring semester, but that doesn’t mean the UW-River Falls team is just sitting around.

“Our official season will be the week we return for spring semester, for now we just keep our stick skills by playing in a fall league on Wednesday nights in St. Paul,” said team captain and president, Nicole Hancock.

Sophomore Courtney Hable leads the Falcons into their upcoming invitational.
Sophomore Courtney Hable leads the Falcons into their upcoming invitational held at UW-River Falls on Oct. 20-21. (Megan Rodriguez/Student Voice)

Not only does the fall league give the team a chance to build up chemistry with each other, but it also gives them an opportunity to both get an early look at conference foes as well as prepare for their annual fall tournament. The tournament will be held Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21 at the UWRF Intramural Fields.

The Falcons are looking to build off of last season which saw the team finish 11-5 and ranked No. 24 in the nation, according to laxpower.com.

“We did pretty well,” said Hancock. “Our losses came to high ranked teams that we played in a North Carolina tournament we attended, as well as the University of Minnesota.”
After last season the team saw three contributing seniors graduate, but a plethora of returners, as well as a few new freshmen, are reasons for the Falcons to be very optimistic about this season.

“We have a couple of really good freshman that are joining this year that I am looking forward to seeing play with our returners,” said Hancock. “We did lose a couple vital players, but I am confident in our team this year.”

UWRF competes in the Lakes division of the North Central Women’s Lacrosse League (NCWLL). Last season the Falcons finished second in the division to the University of Minnesota – Duluth.

Along with winning the division, the Falcons have their sights set much higher this season.

“I want us to make it back to Nationals,” said Hancock. “We have a very good chance this year with some reworking of our league.”

The reworking Hancock refers to is the changing of how the NCWLL works their automatic and at large bid process.

“The team that wins the division automatically wins a spot at the Div. 1 Nationals. If you get the at large bid, you attend the Div. II Nationals,” said Hancock. “Usually the U of M always wins our league, making it hard for all the other teams to make it.”

However, this season, the NCWLL is doing things a bit differently. To get the automatic bid the top Div. 1 team and the top Div. II must play the top Div. 1 and Div. II team, respectfully, from the Central Plains Women’s Lacrosse League (CPWLL). This means that there is the potential for a Div. 1 and Div. II team from the NCWLL to get an automatic bid to Nationals, which is something the Falcons look to take advantage of.

“It gives us a better chance, and makes the playing field much more even for us Div. II teams,” said Hancock.

The Falcons are only two years removed from making the trip to Nationals in 2011 in Scottsdale, Ariz. That season saw the Falcons finished ranked in the top 20 nationally, as well as eighth in the Quality Win Rankings, according to laxpower.com.