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Augustana Observer

Women’s lax preps for tournament

Kaylee Nolan protects the ball from Adrian defenders as she runs downfield with teammate Emily Pavlik behind her. The Vikings beat Adrian 19-1 on March 14.  Photo by Hoang Nguyen.
Kaylee Nolan protects the ball from Adrian defenders as she runs downfield with teammate Emily Pavlik behind her. The Vikings beat Adrian 19-1 on March 14.
Photo by Hoang Nguyen.

The Augustana women’s lacrosse team has qualified for the CCIW tournament, having won all of their games in the regular season of conference play. Their smallest margin of victory in conference was by 10 goals, outscoring their opponents by nearly 109 combined goals in 6 games.
Due to the large margin of victory in conference games as well as their experience in playing all CCIW tournament teams once, Augustana will prepare by watching a bit of film, but will not develop a strategy specifically made for their opponents in the tournament. Senior defender Bridget Conniff cited the team’s continued fundamental development as more important.
“Since we already know their game plan, we will review rather then prepare for the game like it is a game against a team we have never played before,” Conniff said. “We are going to work on our fundamentals and our plays rather than over think what the other team is doing.”
However, Conniff said the team will make a separate, specific game plan for each of the teams they will play in the NCAA tournament, assuming they get a bid. Winning the conference tournament does not give them an automatic bid, as the level of competition in the tournament will be higher than CCIW conference play. Conniff knows that even before the team solidifies their strategy for the tournament, the defense they will run will be different than what they implement in conference play.
“Against a higher caliber team we would probably be less aggressive and more protective of our defensive end, rather than attacking the ball since we would know the players are more skilled,” Conniff said. “Therefore in the conference tournament we will probably take more risks, but in the NCAA tournament, we will try to protect our goal more.”
The Vikings are the highest ranked Midwest team according to the NCAA, but in the latest coaches poll, they did not make the top 25, nor did they receive any votes.
The only east coast team that Augustana has played this year was Susquehanna, and Augustana won the game by a score of 15-14. In the past two years east coast teams have eliminated the Vikings in the Sweet 16. Both of these teams, Trinity in 2013 and Salisbury in 2014, went on to win the championship. This is one of the reasons why the team’s goal is to get past the Sweet 16 in the tournament.
“I think the team goal has always been to get the bid to the tournament but our team goal forever has been to get one step farther than the previous year,” Conniff said. “I would be happy with anything further than the Sweet 16. The past few years we have been stopped at the Sweet 16 so that would be huge for this team to get past it.”
The Vikings have had one loss this season: against Colorado College in overtime. The Vikings played in altitude, and head coach Meredith Newman mentioned this is one of the reasons why they lost earlier this year. Conniff also said that her team is eager to play Colorado College in an attempt to avenge their prior loss.
“We honestly would love to play Colorado College again because that was our only loss this season,” Conniff said. “We would love to play them again because it was such a close game.”
Given the Vikings’ consistency in high scoring and performance during games this season, they team is slated be a tough competitor for any of the three teams entering into the CCIW tournament.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Augustana was placed as the one-seed in the CCIW Tournament standings. The championship is scheduled to be played on Saturday, May 2.

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Women’s lax preps for tournament