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Women’s lacrosse prepares for conference

The women’s lacrosse team remains 10-1 on the season and looks to continue their eight game win streak into this week’s competition against the University of Dubuque and CCIW rival, Carthage College.

The women’s lacrosse team has experienced its fair share of success over the past few seasons. Since 2013, the team has not only made it to the NCAA tournament but also earned a spot in the Sweet 16.

Every consistently strong program has to grapple with the challenge of becoming complacent during strong past and present seasons. This challenge has been successfully met by the women’s lacrosse team, with leadership from senior captains Cori Duncan and Kendall Maduro.

Duncan believes the team can keep their motivation strong to bolster their efforts each game.

“I think we are always motivated to keep pushing ourselves further,” Duncan said. “Our coaches do a really good job keeping us excited about the next game.”

Despite the pressure and competition, the Vikings demonstrated they are just as strong as they ever have been with their ferocious start to the 2016 season. The Vikings currently stand at 10-1 after their 16-2 win over Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday.

Saturday’s tilt kicked off Augustana’s conference stretch, a stretch they have managed to dominate over the past few seasons. But the team isn’t taking their previous dominance for granted.

“We prepare for each team differently,” Duncan said. “We definitely do not underestimate anyone. That goes with film, specific drills and things that our coaches do to really get us prepared for the next game.”

A particular matchup that stands out on the Vikings’ remaining schedule is a home match against CCIW rival Carthage on April 16. The Vikings have faced off against Carthage in the final round of the CCIW tournament in the past two years, and the Lady Reds will be looking to avenge their previous defeats. The Lady Reds stand at 7-3 after winning their conference game against Elmhurst.

The Vikings’ ultimate goal is to surpass what they have done in the past and advance past the second round of the NCAA tournament.

“The Sweet 16 has always been a stopping point for us, and I think each year we keep getting (more) excited,” Duncan said. “We could go further than we ever have been before. That comes through our training, our morning lifts and how we prepare for each game”

One thing the Vikings can count on if they make the tournament is experience. Only six freshmen on the Vikings’ 23 player roster have yet to see NCAA tournament action. 10 of those 23 players are seniors who have been to the Sweet 16 each of the previous three seasons, a quality which senior captain Kendall Maduro believes will give them an edge come the post season.

“The current senior class has made it to the Sweet 16 every year since we began playing for Augustana,” Maduro said. “We have experienced that second/third round loss three separate times. We didn’t like the feeling then. And now we know with this being our last year, we have something to prove.”