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Falcons lacrosse looks to grow in inaugural season

March 11, 2019

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Women’s lacrosse team started its inaugural season on Feb. 24 with a 3-15 loss to Sewanee: The University of the South in Minneapolis, Minn. Since then, the team is riding a two-game winning streak with victories over Concordia University and Elmhurst College.

While the team has only played a small portion of their schedule, it has been a long journey for Head Coach Alison Jennings, who was named to that position back in July of 2017 shortly after the creation of the program.

“The first year I was here it was all about recruiting,” Jennings said. The Falcons roster currently consists of 18 student-athletes, all of whom are freshman or sophomores for the 2019 season. Jennings eventually hopes to expand the roster in the future to 30.

“I’m really excited for these next two to three years when they become juniors and seniors,” Jennings said. “Just because they are young doesn’t mean I would underestimate them either, there’s some pretty talented girls on the squad.”

That talent was on display in the Falcons recent win over Elmhurst College, where they outscored the Blue Jays 15-1 behind three goals apiece from freshman Cassandra Hubble and Emma Kohlbeck.

For the 2019 and 2020 season, the Falcons are an independent team without a conference to play in. The two conferences nearest River Falls are the Midwest Women’s Lacrosse Conference (MWLC) and the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). Jennings believes that the MLWC may split into two leagues given the number of schools within the conference but hopes that the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference creates a conference for women’s lacrosse in the future.  

When describing the building of the program at UW-River Falls, Jennings said, “It’s a learning process, there are always hiccups in the road, but I think to experience it one time through is really important”.

Jennings credits her four years as an assistant coach at Augsburg University for her ability to build a program at UW-River Falls. Augsburg was the first NCAA school in the State of Minnesota to adopt a lacrosse program.

While Jennings has prior experience as an assistant coach, this time around as a head coach she believes
it’s important for her to “put my own twist on it.”

“We are trying to get the program going here with the youth and growing it up, so hopefully we can develop a lacrosse culture here,” Jennings said. Despite the efforts, Jennings believes there is an uphill battle to recruiting student-athletes to play lacrosse, as many players choice hockey or soccer as they are most establish Midwest sports.

“Progress is a very important thing the first year, I definitely believe we can get some wins under our belt,” Jennings said. “In the next three to five years, my goal is to get this to be one of the top programs in the Midwest. I’m definitely looking to build it and grow it pretty quickly and really develop these girls.”    

Jennings believes its important that UW-River Falls created a lacrosse program when they did, saying, “The quicker we add it I think it’s more to our benefit to keep growing and be one of those first and kind of pioneer and set the tone for the WIAC.”