Lara Schuetz and Lauren Duckworth high-five after a goal.
Frank Rogers and the women’s lacrosse team have opened 2017 with a 5-5 start to the new campaign. The Falcons have recorded a first conference win and look significantly improved from last year’s 6-12 inaugural season. Last year’s top scorer, Jami Hudak, leads the Falcons on goals again this season. She has 24 goals despite missing the first two games. Irfana Ahmed leads the Gulf South in saves with 93. Jess Culver leads the Falcons in assists. The Kansas City native has 13 in her sophomore season and has chipped in with 12 goals as well. Lara Schuetz has 15 goals and nine assists from midfield.
The Falcons opened their second season with a rematch of an overtime thriller. Montevallo beat Oklahoma Baptist 18 to 17 in their first season and welcomed the Bison to open 2017. Another close contest was decided with three minutes left in the game, when Jess Culver scored the winning goal. Montevallo followed it up with another victory, this time on the road at Point University. Freshman Meghan Shea scored her first goal and has formed a successful midfield partnership alongside Lara Schuetz and Georgi Griffin.
After the first two contests, the Falcons entered Gulf South play. They got off to a rocky start after dropping three games straight. Despite scoring in double digits in two of the games, Montevallo lost contests against Shorter, Young Harris and UAH. They completed the first half of their conference schedule at home to Lee. The Falcons picked up a first conference win in emphatic style. A 20-4 demolition of the Flames was marked by Hudak’s eight goal, single game record, breaking the seven goal mark set earlier in the season by Alyssa Kaminski. She is third on the team in overall scoring, with 19 goals so far.
Next, the Falcons suffered a losing weekend in Florida. They fell to nationally ranked Tampa and Florida Tech, both losses by double digits. However, the Falcons responded with two victories that help maintain their unbeaten home record. Montevallo destroyed first year team Ohio Valley, by an 18-5 scoreline. They built on their success by beating fellow second year team, Davis and Elkins, 17-4 on a rain soaked afternoon. The Falcons face two road tests this upcoming weekend. Coach Rogers’ team plays Barton and North Greenville before returning to conference play on March 25 against Lee. They face a road clash with Oglethorpe before returning home on April 8. The final three games are at home against Gulf South opposition. They face rematches with Young Harris, Shorter and UAH to close out a second season.
As well as amassing an impressive win total, the Falcons have conference honors to show for their hard work. Freshman Alyssa Kaminski won a Gulf South Freshman of the Week Award in March. Other freshman have also provided huge impacts in their first year. Janey Johnson is second on the team in assists, with 10 in her debut campaign. Summer Stehmeier and Caroline Krupa have joined Jalyn and sister Aliya in the defense, which has seen vast improvement from last year. But it hasn’t just been about freshman. The most experienced player, Lauren Duckworth, is second on the team with her 21 goals and third in assists, with nine. The Falcons have also found more goals from the midfield this season. Schuetz and Culver have scored 15 and 12 goals respectively. Shea and Griffin in the midfield have chipped in for 12 goals even shared. Coach Rogers’ third time starting a collegiate lacrosse program is looking to show signs of significant progress. The Falcons are pushing for a winning record in their second year, an incredible feat considering the short period of time. With seven games left to play, Montevallo’s season is poised on a knife’s edge. Stay tuned at MontevalloFalcons.com.