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Women’s lacrosse: Aurora University embarks on first season

Updated: March 19, 2013 6:23AM

History will be made, weather permitting, at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Aurora University.

That’s when the Aurora University women’s lacrosse team plays its first game ever with Dubuque being the opposition.

“It will be the first hint to see what we’re made of,” AU coach Lauren Rippy said.

Rippy was the head girls lacrosse coach at Neuqua Valley High School prior to taking the job at Aurora University, which will compete in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference.

She guided Neuqua Valley to six conference championships in seven years and had a glittering 98-39-3 record.

“It will be a learning experience for some of the girls,” Rippy said. “Some of the girls have never played lacrosse before. Others played other sports and then I have my recruits.”

Two of the girls who have never played lacrosse before are familiar names within the women’s soccer program.

Senior Kaitlyn Crohan was a mainstay on the women’s soccer team for four years while sophomore Danielle Hernandez (Aurora Central Catholic) quit playing soccer to play lacrosse.

“Crohan came out last spring to kind of try it out and it meshed with her,” Rippy said. “She’s just a natural picking up the stick.”

Crohan and Hernandez, along with freshman Jordan Nielsen, have been elected tri-captains for the first Aurora University team.

AU’s roster of 21 players includes 12 from Illinois and three from Minnesota. California, Maryland, Nevada, Washington and Michigan are also represented.

Besides Hernandez, freshman Gabby Rowe (Yorkville), freshman Marla Harris (Oswego East), sophomore Katherine Patton (Oswego) and sophomore Samantha Cichy (Plainfield South) are from the greater Aurora area.

Since it is a new program, Rippy has set some modest, yet doable goals.

“My expectation is to make the girls understand the game of lacrosse,” Rippy said.

“Secondly, to progress from each practice to each game. If we end the season stronger than we started, that’s a victory to me.”

Freshman Sydney Frey will open the season in the goal for the Spartans and she’ll be flanked by a good group of defenders led by freshman Rachel Cochran.

“I’ve stocked my team with defenders and midfielders heavy,” Rippy said. “I’m still trying to sort out where my shooters are.”

She’ll start figuring that out on Tuesday at Vago Field.

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