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Westminster lacrosse: WLAX opens Saturday at Colorado Mesa

The Westminster women’s lacrosse team opens the 2015 campaign Saturday when it travels to Grand Junction, Colorado, to face Colorado Mesa. The game will be played at Walker Field and is set to begin at 1 p.m. MT.

Saturday’s game will be streamed live on the web through the Colorado Mesa portal on America One Sports. The cost to view the stream is $8. CMU will also provide live stats during the game. All live features to follow the action can be found on Westminster's website.

Westminster begins a new era of women’s lacrosse Saturday as it begins the transition to becoming a full NCAA DII member. The Griffins will spend this season playing as an independent with a schedule that features games against NCAA DII and DIII teams, along with old rivals from both divisions of the WCLA.

Saturday will mark the fourth meeting all-time between the Griffins and Mavericks. CMU leads the series, 2-1, winning once at Dumke Field and again in a neutral site game at Judge Memorial. Westminster took a 16-13 win during the 2012 season in the only other time the teams have met in Grand Junction. The two teams will meet again at Dumke Field on April 18, in the season finale for the Griffins.

The Griffins are coming off a 2014 campaign where they finished 8-7 overall and advanced to the championship game of the RMWLL Tournament. The team averaged 15.2 goals per game last season with five players totaling at least 25 goals during the year. The Griffins surrendered 12.1 goals per contest and claimed 235 draw controls for a 54.5 winning percentage.

The 2015 squad welcomes back 12 players from last season, including Maggie HerrNeckar who was named WCLA Second Team All-American. HerrNeckar was second on the team last season with 43 goals and 56 points. Kira Heiden is also back after scoring 37 goals and recording 13 assists as a freshman. Maddie Haynes, another sophomore, scored 30 goals with nine assists while taking the second-most shots on the team with 74.

Westminster also returns Makenzie Hekking in cage this season. Hekking is the only player to see time in goal for the Griffins in the past three seasons, and she begins the season as the school’s all-time leader in wins, saves, saves per game and goals-against-average. Hekking has a .435 save percentage in her career, and she posted a career-best .456 save percentage last season.

HerrNeckar has been one of the most prolific players in Westminster history, and she begins the year second in school history in points (209), goals (171), shots (297) and draw controls (115). The senior holds the school record with 158 ground balls and 31 free-position goals. In her career, HerrNeckar has averaged 57 goals per season, and she tallied a career-high 79 goals during the 2012 season. She enters the season having scored at least one goal in 22-straight games dating back to the 2013 season.

After playing Saturday, Westminster is off until the team travels to Indiana, Pennsylvania, for games against West Virginia Wesleyan and Indiana on Feb. 27-28.