By Miguel Gonzalez
The College’s lacrosse team endured its first loss of the season on the road against Wesleyan University, 7-6 on March 14. Earlier, on March 6, the Lions thrashed Cabrini University at Lions Stadium, 19-1 and rolled past Dickinson College,15-2, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on March 10.
Sophomore attacker Olivia Cleale was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference offensive player of the week for scoring four goals and recording six assists against Cabrini University the week of March 12.
Riding high on a four-game winning-streak, the lacrosse team encountered a formidable opponent in Wesleyan, currently ranked No. 18 in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division III Coaches Poll.
In the first half, the Lions’ offense looked for openings, but had trouble scoring. Sophomore midfielder Allie Gorman and sophomore attacker Kasey Donoghue were often denied by Wesleyan sophomore goalkeeper Allegra Grant.
In the fifth minute, Wesleyan was in position for a strong counterattack when senior midfielder Amanda Muller throttled them, causing a turnover. Two minutes later, sophomore midfielder Alexandria Fitzpatrick netted in the Lions’ first goal off a free position attempt.
The team carried the momentum forward and pressured Wesleyan to foul for more free position attempts. Gorman and Fitzpatrick gathered two attempts, but were stopped by Grant. On the team’s fourth free position attempt, junior midfielder Erin Harvey hurled in a goal to put the Lions ahead, 2-0.
The Lions then doubled their lead to 4-0 with goals from freshman midfielder Erin Jaffe and Donoghue. In the 13th minute, Wesleyan sprung alive when freshman midfielder Rylee White scored a goal off an assist from sophomore midfielder Abby Manning. Less than a minute later, the Lions countered with another goal by Fitzpatrick.
Wesleyan then scored back-to-back goals to cut the Lions lead to 5-3. Despite Wesleyan’s resurgence, the Lions’ offense kept producing goals. In the 26th minute, Jaffe netted her second goal of the match with an assist from Cleale. By the end of the first half, the Lions sat on a comfortable 6-3 lead.
The Lions’ offense was completely frozen in the second half as Wesleyan evaporated its 6-3 lead and snatched the victory. The team launched shots at Grant, but weren’t able to get past her. In the 30th minute, Cleale nearly scored off a free position attempt when her shot ricocheted off of Grant and landed out of bounds.
Afterwards, Wesleyan struck with a goal by junior attacker Caitlin Wood. With Wesleyan only down by two goals, the Lions tried to hang on as their opponent rallied.
With three minutes left, Wesleyan junior midfielder Abigail Horst tied the match at six when she scored off a free position attempt. On the next play, Wesleyan scored the game-winning goal off another free position attempt.
The Lions then scrambled to send the game to overtime, but ultimately could not prevail against Wesleyan’s stingy defense.
Despite the loss, the Lions had a pair of notable offensive performances against Cabrini and Dickinson.
On March 6 against Cabrini, the Lions reached 19 goals while only allowing one. Fitzpatrick led the Lions’ offense with five goals while Cleale and Muller netted in four. Jaffe completed a hat-trick performance as well.
The team then followed up with another impressive performance against Dickinson on March 10. Once again, Fitzpatrick led the team with four goals while Cleale and Gorman both netted in three goals.
The lacrosse team will compete against The College at Brockport, SUNY at Lions Stadium on Saturday, March 24 at noon.