New offensive strategy pays off for women’s lacrosse against Redlands

Coming off a dominating 17-1 win over Linfield College on Friday, the women’s lacrosse team continued its winning weekend with a victory over the University of Redlands Saturday in the Panthers’ first conference game since March 8.

The Panthers, sitting in second place in the conference, have not lost to fourth-place Redlands since 2014.

“It felt beyond amazing because this is the type of lacrosse we have all been working (toward), and our hard work at practices and bonding on and off the field,” said freshman defender Mika Henrickson. “It’s just super relieving to see everything come together.”

Senior midfielder Kelsey Mackin contributed to the Panthers’ 13-5 win, leading the Panthers’ offense with five goals, while senior attacker Tessa Oliaro scored three goals against Redlands (7-4, 2-3).

“We changed our attack and this game really showed that we could execute running our new offense and that we should continue this offense against our other top competitors for instance,” Henrickson said.

The Panthers now run a “43 offense,” in which four girls are higher up the field as attackers, while three players hang back in the midfield more to protect against counterattacks – an area that was hurting the Panthers in previous games.

“It gives us a lot more freedom. We were losing possession of the ball during pairs and this offense allows us to play more as a team and reduce that,” Henrickson said.

The game was close for the first 20 minutes until Chapman (7-4, 4-1) began to break ahead, scoring 11 points in a row before the Bulldogs scored their third goal in the second half.

“We would get possession off the draw over and over again, and we just all played super well and as a team instead of individually,” Henrickson said. “We just had solid defense and we pressured them to play our game instead of us playing passive.”

The Panthers had 12 draw controls compared to the Bulldogs’ seven.

With five games remaining in the season, the Panthers next face fifth-place Pomona-Pitzer in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game April 8 at 11 a.m. The Panthers beat Pomona-Pitzer by a margin of 10 in their season opener Feb. 18.

“We are at a point in our season when we really need to work and communicate well together,” Henrickson said. “This is by far the best game and it shows just how well we can play this game has set the standards higher for how we can execute.”

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