Spartans Look to Compete After Making Leap to New Conference

Mar 3, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The University of Dubuque women’s lacrosse team aims for steady improvement in 2015 as they return 11 starters and 17 letterwinners from a year ago. In their first year of membership, the Spartans look to move up the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) hierarchy after being picked to finish fourth.

Rank Team Votes
1 Augustana 35
T2 Carthage 29
T2 North Central 29
4 Univ. of Dubuque 20
5 Illinois Wesleyan 14
6 Elmhurst 13
7 Carroll 7

The Spartans finished off 2014 with a record of 4-11, 2-8 in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference (MWLC) in Head Coach Kendall Loggins' first year at the helm. All four wins came in the span of nine days as UD defeated Fontbonne, Dallas, Benedictine, and Illinois Tech in consecutive games by a combined score of 62-30. 

UD now shifts its attention to the newly formed CCIW consisting of fellow MWLC transfers: Augustana (Ill.), Carthage, and North Central (Ill.). The Spartans also welcome first-year programs Illinois Wesleyan, Elmhurst, and Carroll.

After taking care of Benedictine and Augsburg in their first two games of 2015, the Spartans hope to keep the ball rolling with a quick streak to start the season.

“We feel that we can compete in more games this year and this will help our program continue to grow,” stated Head Coach Kendall Loggins. “Our main goals are to win more games each year while improving the team both individually and collectively.”

The Spartans look to do just that starting with their top-scoring returner, junior Bridget Schirmers, who netted 48 goals and six assists off a team-high 97 shots in 2014. Schirmers represents 12 Spartans who started at least 10 games a year ago. Senior Judy Borah, starter of 14 games, dished out a team-high 10 assists to go with her 26 goals. Borah also factored in defensively after scooping up 21 ground balls and claiming 15 draw controls.

Sophomore Robyn Wittkopf started all 10 of her appearances and was an all-around threat after earning a team-high 52 draw controls, snagging 31 ground balls, scoring seven goals with eight assists, and causing a team-high 18 turnovers.  Only sophomore sophomore Brooke Crossen captured more ground balls with 35.

The four key players above will join a trio of talented freshman: MF Breann Tjaarda, MF Elisa Thode, and D Haley Shilts as they build the program.

“Each year we bring in new players with a healthy amount of playing experience,” added Coach Loggins. “Every player is confident their improvements individually can boost UD on the team level as well. We (coaches and players) understand that this is a process and we won’t win conference overnight but we believe we are capable of improving each year. Our goal is that eventually we will be able to compete for conference championships and national tournament berths year in and year out.”

It’s been smooth sailing thus far after picking up two statement wins over Benedictine, 24-4, and Augsburg, 15-13, both on the road. After facing a 6-1 deficit at Augsburg, the Spartans stormed back behind Schirmers, senior Kelly Wetherald, and do-it-all MF Tjaarda. Schirmers and Wetherald combined to score seven of UD’s last eight goals in the victory.

Next up, the Spartans head south for their first trip outside the midwest when they take on Rhodes College (Tenn.) and Millsaps College (Miss.) in Memphis, Tenn. on March 7 and 8, respectively. 

UD will return for a homestand where they host nine of their next 10 games at newly turfed Oyen Field. It features key games against Carroll (March 24), Wartburg (March 26), Loras (April 8), Aurora University (April 13), and Elmhurst (April 15). The Spartans will cap their season at CCIW opponent Illinois Wesleyan on April 25.

“Overall, we are very excited for this season and we can’t wait to play on our brand new turf (Oyen) field,” concluded Coach Loggins.