Lax goes international

UVM women’s lacrosse head coach Jen Johnson has competed in two International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Association (IFWLA) World Cups for Canada as a player.Most recently, Johnson coached the Canadian under 19 team in the summer of 2007 for the first time.It is fair to say that Johnson’s experience as a coach and player lured two international competitors to play for the Women’s Lacrosse team.Junior midfielder Kristen Millar played for Canada in this past summer’s World Cup under Jen Johnson, while sophomore Rebecca Banyard, who played for the Australians in the World Cup, has come to study abroad for the semester to play lacrosse at UVM.Johnson and Millar were elected to the 2007 IFWLA World Cup team. It was Johnson’s first time as a coach for the team and Millar’s first time playing for the Canadian team.”It’s just unbelievable to think that you’re playing for your country and representing all of the lacrosse players in your country…its amazing.” Millar said about her world cup experience.Canada beat Australia in their first match, the first win Canada ever had over Australia. However, Australia beat Canada in the semi-final game. The Aussies, with Banyard on the team, placed second at the World Cup. Canada placed fourth.Banyard, a native of Perth, Australia, said she was first interested in UVM because “they’ve got lacrosse and it has a beautiful campus.”Her coaches at home in Australia also directed her towards UVM for the opportunity to learn and play under coach Johnson.Banyard said her most memorable moment of the World Cup was when Australia beat the Canadians to advance to the finals. “That game, we just connected as a team really well.” Baynard said. Both Banyard and Millar, under Johnson’s tutelage, have the Catamounts playing at a higher and more optimistic level than ever before.”The first goal is American East championship tournaments…I definitely think this is the most depth we’ve had on a team,” Millar said.”I think we’re going to do well, we’re still a very young team with 13 sophomores,” Johnson said.Johnson said she feared confidence might be an issue for the team before the season began, but their resilience this season has calmed her fears. UVM is 4-1 in conference play and second in the America East standings. They had their first win over a ranked opponent this season and Millar now holds the NCAA record for career draw controls.”It’s definitely an asset to have two players of that caliber on a team and they are definitely role models that a lotof people look to, based on the fact that they’ve played at a high level,” Johnson said.”If you have players doing their job and doing what they do well out there then that speaks volumes over any verbal leadership that a coach or a player can do,” Johnson said.To keep their spirits high and light, Millar and Banyard do joke around with each other about competing against each other in the World Cup.”Its fun because we still kind of chirp at each other and give each other some comments every once in a while, but I’m kind of on the back end of that one since [Banyard] beat us.” Millar said.