Expectations high for Royals' Women's lacrosse
comments
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014

Expectations high for Royals' Women's lacrosse

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/07/12/12/wGS0C.Em.138.jpeg|305
    - QUEENS SPORTS INFORMATION
    Queens women’s lacrose player Jena Ready, left, led the team with 53 goals and 19 assists last season.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/07/12/12/sph9t.Em.138.jpeg|322
    - QUEENS SPORTS INFORMATION
    Queens women’s lacrosse player Brittany Barnwell, right, is a redshirt senior midfielder named first-team preseason all-conference.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/07/12/12/OBqdJ.Em.138.jpeg|451
    - QUEENS SPORTS INFORMATION
    Queens women's lacrose player Jena Ready, a junior attacker/midfielder.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/07/12/12/c3bVp.Em.138.jpeg|486
    - QUEENS SPORTS INFORMATION
    Queens women’s lacrosse player Brittany Barnwell is a redshirt senior midfielder.
  • Upcoming Events

    Feb. 12

    Men’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Women’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Women’s basketball: vs. Wingate, Curry Arena, 6 p.m.

    Men’s basketball: vs. Wingate, Curry Arena, 8 p.m.

    Feb. 13

    Men’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Women’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Feb. 14

    Men’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Women’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Men’s indoor track and field: at UCS Invitational, Winston-Salem.

    Women’s indoor track and field: at UCS Invitational, Winston-Salem.

    Feb. 15

    Women’s lacrosse: vs. Molloy, Queens Sports Complex, 11 a.m.

    Softball: at USC-Aiken, Aiken, S.C., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (doubleheader).

    Women’s tennis: at Mars Hill, Mars Hill, N.C., 1 p.m.

    Men’s tennis: at Mars Hill, Mars Hill, N.C., 1 p.m.

    Men’s lacrosse: at LIU-Post, Queens Sports Complex, 2 p.m.

    Women’s basketball: at Mars Hill, Mars Hill, N.C., 2 p.m.

    Men’s basketball: at Mars Hill, Mars Hill, N.C., 4 p.m.

    Men’s cross country: at U.S.A. Junior Nationals, Boulder, Colo.

    Women’s cross country: at U.S.A. Junior Nationals, Boulder, Colo.

    Men’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Women’s swimming and diving: at Blue Mountain Conference championships, Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

    Men’s indoor track and field: at UCS Invitational, Winston-Salem.

    Women’s indoor track and field: at UCS Invitational, Winston-Salem.

    Feb. 16

    Men’s tennis: vs. Belmont Abbey, Freedom Park, 1 p.m.

    Women’s tennis: vs. Belmont Abbey, Freedom Park, 1 p.m.

    Feb. 17

    Women’s lacrosse: vs. Rollins, Queens Sports Complex, 4 p.m.

    Feb. 19

    Women’s lacrosse: vs. Limestone, Queens Sports Complex, 4 p.m.

    Women’s basketball: at Newberry, Newberry, S.C., 6 p.m.

    Men’s basketball: at Newberry, Newberry, S.C., 8 p.m.

    Source: www.queensathletics.com

Queens University of Charlotte Women’s lacrosse coach Julika Blankenship doesn’t want her players looking too far ahead as the spring season approaches.

Expectations are high for a Royals program that came within a game of earning its first berth in the NCAA Division II tournament last season.

“We are trying to accomplish a lot of different goals, and we’re not going to let ourselves get too far ahead with anything,” said Blankenship in her first full season as Queens coach.

“Right now, our focus is on getting better every day. I don’t like for us to get too far ahead of ourselves, because we’ve still got a lot to work on.”

The Royals – who open their season Feb. 15 against Molloy at the Queens Sports Complex – finished the 2013 season with a 10-10 overall record and 5-2 in Conference Carolinas, finishing third behind nationally-ranked Limestone College and Pfeiffer University.

But Queens made a run through the conference tournament, knocking off then-No. 6 Pfeiffer in the quarterfinals and advancing to the championship game before losing to Limestone, which eventually advanced to the Division II championship game before losing to Long Island University-Post.

That finish and their returning talent are two big reasons the Royals are the preseason pick by conference coaches to win the inaugural South Atlantic Conference title.

Queens received five first-place votes and 35 points overall, just ahead of Lenoir-Rhyne, with two first-place votes and 32 points. Catawba and Newberry tied for third with 22 points each.

“We’re coming in really strong,” said senior midfielder Brittany Barnwell, one of eight Royals named to the SAC preseason all-conference team.

Barnwell was joined on the preseason all-SAC first team by junior attacker-midfielder Jena Ready, senior midfielder Arika Zimmerman and two defenders – senior Akasha Kasper and sophomore Bridgette Larranaga. Three others – sophomore attacker Maggie Masters, sophomore defender Sydney Dishman and junior goalkeeper Danielle Horoschak – were named to the second team.

Queens lost just five players to graduation, two of them starters. Even with a roster that leans heavily toward underclassmen – only 10 juniors or seniors on the team, with nine sophomores and eight freshmen – Blankenship isn’t concerned about experience.

“We don’t have a lot of numbers in the upperclassmen,” Blankenship said. “But they have such great leadership qualities that we’re not going to struggle. They’re very, very talented and very, very strong people and players.”

The Royals will be able to generate a lot of offense with their five top scorers returning: Ready, who led the team with 53 goals and 19 assists; Blankenship (50 goals, 11 assists), Masters (34 goals, 13 assists), Larranaga (33 goals, four assists) and Zimmerman (29 goals, 11 assists).

On defense, Horoschak led Conference Carolinas in total saves last season with 155 and was sixth in save percentage (39.8 percent).

“We do have some experience,” Blankenship said. “Coupled with our freshman talent, they’re going to be very exciting to watch.”

Before the Royals can think about winning a conference title, they’ve got to get through a tough nonconference schedule.

Queens will play five teams ranked among the nation’s top 15 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s Division II preseason poll: No. 3 Limestone on Feb. 19, No. 4 Rollins on Feb. 17, No. 7 West Chester (Pa.) on March 16, No. 10 Pfeiffer on Feb. 25 and No. 11 Florida Southern on March 28.

“The start of our season is really tough,” with five games in 11 days, Blankenship said. “Our nonconference (schedule) is really strong. We wanted it that way, because if we want to improve, we’ve got to play against the very best.”

Duchampt sets Division II mark

Queens long-distance runner Felix Duchampt turned in the fastest indoor 3,000-meter run of the season among NCAA Division II schools, in Winston-Salem on Feb. 1.

Duchampt, a junior from Ceyrat, France, was invited to take part in the 3K run at the Camel City Elite Races indoor meet at the JDL Fast Track facility, the event’s lone Division II runner.

Duchampt went on to finish fifth in the 3,000-meter run in a time of 8 minutes, 11.26 seconds. That was not only the best time of the season in Division II but qualified Duchampt for the NCAA championships on March 13-15 in Winston-Salem.

Royals swim teams ranked in top three

Queens’ men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been ranked among the nation’s top three NCAA Division II teams in a national coaches poll.

The College Swimming Coaches Association of America have the Royals’ women ranked No. 2, while the men are ranked No. 3 in the final poll of the 2013-2014 season, which came out Jan. 31.

The CSCAA poll is conducted by seven member coaches and one member of the media.

Drury’s men’s and women’s teams hold the top spot in both CSCAA Division II polls.

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at bkisercltobs@gmail.com.

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more