Meghan Falconer, Contributing Writer
Saturday afternoon, the women’s lacrosse team traveled to Georgetown, Texas, to battle the Southwestern University Pirates. The speed and power of Southwestern’s 5-star shooters forced the Crusaders to play frantic defense. They sprinted up the field only to get double-teamed between restraining lines and force long passes to heavily guarded teammates. After an hour of arduous play, the Pirates were victorious. The final score was 20-3, and the Pirates continued their season undefeated.
University of Dallas coach Melissa Grant was frustrated with her team’s struggle to detain the intense, effective yet repetitive Southwestern offensive style of drive-feed-shoot.
“[We] struggled picking up players to guard in transition, and our defensive help-slides weren’t there. And that left open shots on goal for Southwestern,” she said.
Grant, however, also pointed out some positives.
“Our team saw significant improvements in the second half as our girls became more aggressive. We persevered despite the difficult first half, and I feel that the final score could have been less drastic if we hadn’t suffered as many injuries,” she said.
The Crusaders began the game already missing one of their starting defenders (sophomore Mary Frelk), but the game began to look bleak when, with 12 minutes left in the first half, freshman Jessie Koster popped her knee while attempting to force a turnover in a transition. Koster’s injury was significant for the Crusaders — in the previous game she had scored seven of the 12 total Crusader goals, and during the game against Southwestern, she made one of the first goals.
The bad luck continued in the second half when another one of the team’s essential attack players, junior Mary Hilker, received a knee thrust to the thigh while she was fighting for possession after a draw. Both players were assisted off the field and rested for the remainder of the game.
Despite already having two significant players injured, the Crusaders battled on for the rest of the second half, exhausted but aggressive. Fighting hard for possession, the Crusaders beat Southwestern in a number of dropped-ball recoveries. Desperate to put points on the board, sophomore Hayley Rodgers received two controversial yellow cards for dangerous play, and, now devoid of substitutes, the Crusaders played the remaining 10 minutes with two fewer players on the field than the Pirates. Overall, the defeat was unfortunate, but Grant is still very optimistic about the remainder of the season.
“Our next game (against Oklahoma Baptist) should be a great one. Both teams have won on the other’s home field, so it should be an exciting one, and I know we will play well!”