Women's lacrosse team opens season with almost-new team
Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Returning junior attacker and co-captain Erin Bradbury cradles the ball during a practice drill Tuesday afternoon at Bear Down Field. The women's lacrosse team begins its season this weekend at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo on Saturday and at UC-Santa Barbara on Sunday.
One glance at the Arizona women's club lacrosse team's roster shows a lot of names that weren't there last year.
Those who have returned are coming off the Wildcats' fourth-consecutive appearance in the Western Women's Lacrosse League's Final Four, a finish that saw Arizona come in third with an 11-10 win over UC-Santa Barbara in the consolation game.
And it is that same Gaucho team the Wildcats will face this Sunday on the road.
"I guess their coach is calling this game their championship," UA head coach Josh Dreiband said. "Every time we've played them it's been close."
Dreiband did note there are a few Wildcats back from last year who have been telling the newcomers how important the Sunday afternoon game is.
First, though, the players have to overcome Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo on Saturday afternoon.
"It is a tough beginning," UA junior attacker Erin Bradbury said. "It's going to be a big eye-opener for the new people, and all the people back are rusty."
Bradbury was a WWLL All-Star last year, and Dreiband said he expects other teams to double and even triple-team her this season.
That will leave Arizona's other two starting attackers, Jenny Menditch and Michelle Bauer, responsible for making sure the Wildcats can still score.
Stopping the opposition from scoring will fall to a group of defenders led by returning star Maren Henley, whom Dreiband called "one of the top three defenders in the South (Division of the WWLL)."
Flanking her will be newcomer Christine Cook, who is new to both the team and the sport of lacrosse.
"After she gets experience she'll be one to watch," Dreiband said.
Behind them will be freshman goalie Kim McDonough, who admitted she's "just a little bit nervous" going into the weekend.
"This team has a lot of heart," Bradbury said. "Heart is what's really going to help us out this year. There's a lot of hustling, and everyone's into learning new things. There are some really good people on this team.
"I think the other teams this weekend are going to be shocked by how good we can be."
Laxcats open their season at home
The Arizona Laxcats club lacrosse team will begin its season this weekend with games against Ft. Lewis College on Saturday and Colorado School of Mines on Sunday.
Arizona starts off with nearly 30 players on its roster. With the extra players comes extra responsibility for the coaching staff.
Head coach Mickey-Miles Felton said this is one of the best groups of coaches he has been around. Felton, Peter Johnson, Tom Nolan and Chris Stinson make up a group of coaches that combine many years of playing and coaching experience.
Senior attacker Dan Price will probably lead the Laxcat offense, while sophomore defenseman Jeff Cady will keep the opposition from scoring.
"These two are our leaders," Felton said. "They work so hard, and they both are experienced players."
However, Felton said Price and Cady do not need to carry the team on their shoulders.
Starting in goal for the Laxcats is freshman Jesse Carlaftes.
"Jesse will likely be one of the least experienced goalies in the west, and if you asked him four months ago he would have told you he would redshirt this season," Felton said. "The team is confident in his abilities."
Felton will look at Saturday's game to determine who will get more or less playing time on Sunday.
Saturday's game is at Wildcat Field on 15th Street, south of Broadway, between Tucson and Plumer, at 1 p.m.
- Chris Reimer