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In the case of RU Women’s Club Lacrosse, the Fall 2011 semester can best be described as a year of growth. The club team, which is in its fifth year of existence, already hosted a tournament on campus at Radford University called “LAX for Tatas,” where half the proceeds from ticket sales and concessions were donated to cancer research.
The team’s fall season, called “Fall Ball” by most players and league officials alike, is coming to a close now that the end of the fall semester is near. Club LAX did play in one last tournament before closing out Fall Ball, on the weekend of Nov. 12-13. The tournament, dubbed The East Carolina Pirate Invitational, was held at East Carolina University and featured nine club teams from different universities spread along the mid-Atlantic seaboard. The tournament was co-ed, and featured several men’s squads going head to head as well.
“It was a really good way to reach out to different clubs in our region, and it was a great way to get to know some of the other teams in our part of the country,” said senior attack Kelli Grant. “It’s really good networking and really great for the future of our team, going to these tournaments.”
For being such a young team, RU Club LAX did perform at a respectable level, despite playing against programs that have been around much longer, and (in most cases) against programs that are stationed at universities larger than Radford.
The squad got off to a great start in the tournament when they went against Appalachian State; the Highlanders won by a score of 7-4. Senior attack Kelli Grant led the Highs with two goals, while senior midfielder Astin Altenburg and senior center Alyssa Tompkins were two of five Highlanders with a goal apiece in the game. Sophomore goalie Rehn West tallied six saves in the game.
Next on the schedule was a 1:30 p.m. contest against host team ECU. The game was played directly after Radford’s victory over App State at 11 a.m.
Despite being obviously fatigued, the Highs managed to hang tough with ECU, fighting tooth and nail for the entire contest. Tompkins led the Highs with four goals on the afternoon, while Altenburg and Grant each tallied two scores. West racked up another five saves on the day, but in the end RU conceded 11 goals on the afternoon. Despite their impressive offensive performance, RU lost a close game by a score of 11-10.
The next day, Nov. 13, the Highlanders opened up play against cross-state rival James Madison University. The Dukes, utilizing a powerful offensive attack, scored 13 goals against the RU defense. Adding to the Highs troubles was the fact that JMU’s stiff defense allowed just two goals on the morning. Tompkins and sophomore attack Katie Barron both scored one goal each in the match. Although the end score was 13-2, the tournament-ending defeat could have been a lot worse if West hadn’t recorded 15 saves against the Dukes.
“I would say that as a team, we were incredibly united throughout the tournament,” said senior club president Caitlin Francis. “At ECU, it was the best lacrosse that we’ve played in awhile. I think the rookies and the veterans finally got a really good flow.”
A fourth match was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 against University of Virginia, but Radford and UVA agreed to a mutual forfeit via a “walk away,” where neither team was awarded a win or a loss. With the mutual forfeit, RU’s record for the ECU tournament was 1-2, and Rehn West tallied an impressive 28 saves through three games.
Club LAX’s next tournament will take place at the Old Dominion University campus in Norfolk, at a time and date yet to be determined as of the time of this printing.