By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University women's lacrosse team will play its first ever game on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Johnson & Wales University (Colo.) at Sparks Field on the Willamette campus. Game time is set for 1 p.m. (PST).
Many of the Bearcats began practicing without playing any games last year on a club team led by Head Coach Sarah Lautenbach and Assistant Coach Annie Longtain, as Willamette built toward the 2019 season. Now those players are about to join several newcomers as the first Willamette athletes to play in an intercollegiate women's lacrosse game. Willamettee competes in NCAA Division III. Johnson & Wales is entering its fourth season of women's lacrosse and is on its way to full membership in NCAA Division III. The Wildcats went 0-11 in 2016 and 2017, and finished 0-13 in 2018.
J&W competes in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Willamette is a member of the Northwest Conference.
With both Willamette and Whitworth University competing in women's lacrosse for the first time this season, the NWC now has lacrosse teams at seven of its nine colleges and universities, which will give the NWC its first automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament this season. Also fielding women's lacrosse teams in the NWC are George Fox University, Linfield College, Pacific University, University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College.
Women's lacrosse is a fast-paced game in which each player has a lacrosse stick with netting at one end to hold the ball. Players use the lacrosse stick to run with the ball, pass or catch it. The lacrosse stick can be used to check an opposing player's stick, although it's never allowed to be near the opponent's head or used to hit the body.
Each team has 12 players on the field, with only seven players allowed below the restraining line on offense or defense. A women's lacrosse game includes two 30-minutes halves. If the teams score an equal number of goals in regulation, overtime is played. Each sudden-death overtime includes up to two 3-minutes periods, with teams changing ends after the first three minutes. Overtime continues until a team scores.
Here are the players joining Lautenbach and Longtain for the first game in Willamette history:
# 2 - Laura Polkinghorn, Defense
# 3 - Taya Cody, Attack
# 5 - Anabel Ohsman, Attack
# 7 - Alayna Newland, Attack
# 8 - Miranda Piros, Midfield
#11 - Ally Fisher, Defense
#13 - Victoria Glidden, Midfield/Defense
#15 - Bridget Blaney, Defense
#17 - Emma Canchola, Defense
#18 - Lexie Andrade, Attack
#21 - Laura Kelly, Attack/Midfield
#23 - Nina Hernandez, Midfield
#24 - Miya Konishi, Midfield/Defense
#26 - Margo Lane, Defense/Goalkeeper
#27 - Kara Phillips, Goalkeeper
The Bearcats open the season with four consecutive games at home. They will host Wartburg College (Iowa) on Tuesday, March 5 at 6 p.m., before taking on George Fox in a Northwest Conference game on Saturday, March 16. Willamette will battle Puget Sound at Sparks Field on Sunday, March 17.