Lacrosse hosts VCU and Cincinnati this weekend

(ScarboroughPhotography.com)
(ScarboroughPhotography.com)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Campbell is set for a pair of games this weekend at Barker-Lane Stadium starting on Friday versus VCU at 5 p.m. The Camels will have a quick turnaround and face Cincinnati on Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission to both games are free.

CU will make its first appearance on the Big South Network for Sunday's game vs. the Bearcats. Evan Budrovich and Sal Mercogliano will have the call.

Fans not in attendance, or those following along in the stadium, can track all the action in both games through live stats available on gocamels.com. Live in-game updates will also be posted on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWLAX.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Campbell (0-2) dropped an 11-10 heartbreaker to Old Dominion last Saturday in its home opener. The Camels rallied from an early 5-1 deficit to take 10-9 lead with 2:10 left to play. However, ODU tied the game just over a minute later and scored the game-winning goal with 19 seconds on the clock. Kayla Reilly led CU with five points on three goals and two assists while Melissa Placek also scored a career-high three goals.

CAMELS PICKED THIRD: Campbell received its highest preseason billing in program history when the Big South coaches picked the Camels to finish third in the league standings. High Point was tabbed as the preseason favorites followed by defending champions Winthrop in second.

THREE CAMELS EARN PRESEASON HONORS: A program-record three Camels were named to the All-Big South Preseason team and Erin O'Hara was named CU's first ever preseason defensive player of the year. Placek and Kayla Reilly joined O'Hara on the preseason all-conference squad.

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features scoring options from a few different players out of the attack and midfield. Placek leads the way so far this season with four goals while Kayla Reilly is the Camels' leading returning scorer with 29 goals last season. Sarah Paul, Carter Koontz and Sami Smit have also registered two scores this season while Mackenzie Koeller and Tina Ricci each have one goal on the board.

A LITTLE DEFNESIVE: The Camel defensive unit is perhaps the most experienced group on the field. O'Hara headlines the unit along with fifth-year senior April Reinhart. Megan Reilly returns as a junior and sophomore Amanda Chasin is back after playing significant minutes as a rookie.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: In goal, the Camels feature three net minders for the first time in program history. Merredith Bechler has played every minute in both contests and is the Camels' all-time leader for minutes and appearances in the cage. Sophomore Kylie Haarhoff returns after making nine appearances as a rookie and Alex Salim has entered the fold as a freshman.

THE NEWBIES: The Camels feature eight new players on their 2017 roster including seven talented freshmen looking to make an impact early in their Campbell careers. Sam Carey has started both games this season and leads the Camels with seven draw controls. Ricci came off the bench and registered her first intercollegiate goal at Elon. Other rookies on the squad include Mackenzie Griffith, Katie Matz and Maia Walters up front while Allison Waldhauser will add depth to the defense. Ellie Allen also joined the Camels after playing one season at George Washington University.

HEAD COACH DAWN EASLEY: Campbell head coach Dawn Easley is in her fourth season in Buies Creek after leading the Camels to the most successful season in program history last year. She led CU to its first winning campaign and a new single-season win record at 10-9. The Camels also won their first postseason contest and advanced to the Big South semifinals. Easley has mentored 12 All-Big South honorees in three years at Campbell and owns a career .556 winning percentage in eight years on the sidelines.

ALL-TIME SERIES: VCU leads the all-time series 1-0 after winning last year's contest 21-13 on its home turf. Sunday will be the first ever meeting between Campbell and Cincinnati.

SCOUTING THE RAMS: VCU (0-2) is in its second year in program history and dropped its first two contests this season to Old Dominion and UMBC. The Rams were picked 10th in the A-10 preseason poll after going just 3-14 in their inaugural campaign last year. Molly Barcikowski has a team-high six points on five goals and an assist, which includes a three-goal performance against UMBC. Ria Peralta has manned the cage in both games for VCU and has recorded 24 saves with a .444 save percentage.

SCOUTING THE BEARCATS: Cincinnati (0-1) dropped its 2017 season opener to Ohio State 17-8 and will take on Coastal Carolina on Friday before facing the Camels on Sunday. Monica Borzillo led the Bearcats with six points on three goals and three assists but Cincy fell into a 7-1 hole eight minutes into the contest and couldn't recover. Borzillo was named Big East Freshman of the Week for her performance against the Buckeyes. UC is coming off a 4-13 season.

LOOKING AHEAD: Following this weekend's action, the Camels will return to action in a neutral site matchup against LaSalle in DeLand, Florida on Friday, March 10.