David Borne | Staff Writer
Feb. 13, 2019
In her debut as the Duquesne women’s lacrosse coach, Corinne Desrosiers made one thing very clear. Her squad is going to play fast, they’re going to play hard and they’re not going to be outpaced by anybody.
Duquesne took on Longwood on Feb. 10 at Arthur J. Rooney Field and dominated the entirety of its season opener. The Dukes got off to a quick 6-0 lead to start the afternoon and rode that momentum to a 22-9 victory over the Lancers.
While a 22-goal showing is certainly an impressive way to start off a season, it was Duquesne’s effort on the defensive end that truly created offensive opportunities. The Dukes played with relentless, high-pressure defense, and as a result, Longwood wrapped up the afternoon with a dismal 37 turnovers.
“We’re trying to bring a new brand of lacrosse to Rooney,” said Desrosiers, referencing Duquesne’s energetic approach. “We’ve trained these girls since September to be as conditioned as possible.
“We’re trying to get the other team tired, we’re trying to take the ball out of their hands and we’re trying to kind of stack pressure so we have more panicked and forced turnovers, [rather] than just getting our feet in position and checking.”
Sophomore midfielder Michaela Connolly led the Dukes in scoring, finishing the afternoon with three goals and three assists. Connolly scooped up a team-high six ground balls to add to her stat-line as well.
For her efforts against the Lancers, Connolly was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week. She is the first Duquesne player to earn outright Player of the Week honors since Amanda Kidder on March 11, 2014.
Junior Maddie Hart scored a team-high five goals. Senior attacker Megan Buettner finished right behind her with four goals of her own.
While the program hasn’t seen much success in the previous few seasons, Duquesne does have a number of talented players on its roster. With the likes of Connolly, Buettner, Hart and Carlee Braverman, who was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team last season, Duquesne has a solid foundation.
Coach Desrosiers has been impressed with the group she’s inherited, and is excited to build the program further off of their strengths.
“I like this group,” Desrosiers said. “They’re goal-oriented, they want to win, they’re really good kids and they’ve really taken to the culture I’m trying to set here. I think that we’ll be able to cultivate leadership from the underclasses, so that when we bring in a nice, big class of freshmen next year, we’re just not going to skip a beat.”
It was easy for Desrosiers to find plenty of positives following her team’s performance against Longwood. However, even with the success, she was also able to spot several areas that need to be improved upon as well.
Desrosiers noted that while winning is always the main goal, it’s important that a team is able to take more out of a matchup than just the result.
“We saw where our drop-off was there today; we saw where our ride had some deficiencies that we’re looking for, but this was great,” Desrosiers said. “That’s kind of what you’re looking for. You want to come away with a win, but you still want to learn some lessons, and I think we were able to do that.”
The next step for Desrosiers’ team is a matchup with Butler in Indianapolis on Feb. 14. The Bulldogs finished last season at the bottom of the Big East with an overall record of 1-19.
Butler struggled to find consistent offensive production last year, averaging just under seven goals per game.