Women’s Lacrosse keeps the lead

By Shawn Minnix

Oakland University’s Division 2 women’s lacrosse team remains undefeated after a solid victory over University of Michigan’s B squad 13-6 Thursday, March 11 at Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac.

The game was close until Oakland turned up their defensive pressure late in the first half, holding Michigan scoreless for the final 13 minutes.OU scored three times during this stretch to go into halftime leading 8-3, with team captains senior Haley Noonan and junior Ashley Krisfalusi leading the way.

In the second half, Noonan and Krisfalusi continued their great play, as Noonan added a power-play tally and Krisfalusi scored a goal late to put the game away.

Both women are integral parts of the team’s chemistry and were first-team all-league selections in 2009, and their experience provides a catalyst that energizes the entire team.

“Haley’s been playing with me for four years now,” head coach Towbey Kassa said. “She has very good hard work ethic and just came to play tonight.”

“Once those two get going, the whole team starts feeding off their energy,” Kassa said.

The win raises their record to 3-0, having also defeated Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Junior defensive captain Charlotte Rose has seen some changes occur, but does not believe that will be a factor heading forward.

“We have several new girls on defense, but we don’t feel that in any way will really hinder us,” Rose said. “We have every expectation of defending our title.”

Rose was a 2009 first-team all-league selection on defense, but was not playing in Thursday’s game because she has not been cleared to play due to pneumonia. She expects to be back in the lineup when the Grizzlies play Saginaw Valley State on Thursday night.

The team, which plays in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse League, is coming off three straight Northeast Division championships, and last year won their first conference championship. This year they have every intention of duplicating that feat and taking the next step.

“We want to go to nationals in Arizona and win the championship there,” Rose said.”We aim high and just go all the way.”

They have a difficult schedule coming up however, with games looming against Michigan State and Michigan’s top squad, both currently ranked in the top 15 in the nation. Even with those tough teams, Kassa believes that the Grizzlies will meet those challenges and possibly exceed their successful 2009 season.

“Our expectation is to get back there again like we did last year,” Kassa said. “If we continue to work hard, do the little things, and start putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we’ll be just fine.”