Minutewomen suffer two-game skid

By Herb Scribner

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While the students at Massachusetts were enjoying their respective spring breaks, the women’s lacrosse team could not find the same sense of enjoyment as they suffered two road losses over the past 10 days.

On Saturday, Albany opened up the first period of play with a six-goal run over a span of 20 minutes to gain a lead it would never lose, resulting in their first-ever victory over UMass (3-6), 14-7.

The Great Danes (4-1) jumped out early with goals by sophomore Melanie Sosnowski and junior Taylor Frink. Sophomore Jesse O’Donnell came to the rescue to keep the Minutewomen in the game with an unassisted goal. Down 2-1, the Minutewomen fell to four more goals by Albany juniors Mel Rorie (2), Jodi Battaglia and senior Olivia Jarem.

Merritt Cosgrove stopped the run with a goal off of a free position opportunity, putting the Minutewomen deficit at four goals. This changed 24 seconds later when senior Kayla Best and Sosnowski pounded a pair into the net. Just before the break, Cosgrove earned an assist off a pass to Houlis, who scored the final goal of the first period, leaving the score at 8-3.

The second half moved a bit slower, as the first goal wasn’t scored until just over two minutes in. Frink notched her second goal of the game off an assist from Sosnowski.

The 215 spectators in attendance had to wait nearly 10 minutes until the next score, which came from sophomore Danielle Pelletier. Senior Jackie Lyons followed up with a goal of her own, cutting the lead once again to four goals.

Frink and Best notched their own pair of goals to erase the latest UMass push. While senior Stephanie Hopkins scored her first goal of the year to cut the Albany lead to five goals, the Great Danes kept their attack strong.

After a trade-off of goals between the two sides, Albany closed out the game with a pair of scores, resulting in a 14-7 final score.

UMass led in ground balls (21-17), but fell in the draw control category (14-9). Both teams were unsuccessful on the free-position shot, with UMass going 3-for-7, and Albany going 1-for-6.

An impressive part of the game was Florence’s 12 saves, which came from the 31 shots taken by the Great Danes.

Despite a straight dead-lock in the first half of UMass game earlier in the week against Stony Brook, the Minutewomen could not keep the momentum going into the second half, as they fell 12-6 to the Seawolves on March 13.

SBU jumped out quick to get ahead in the game, scoring on two free-position shots to gain the early lead. Down by a pair of goals, UMass picked up the pace, knotting up the score off its own pair of free-position shots by Lyons and Cosgrove.

Seven minutes of back-and-forth play ensued. The match loosened up with a little over eight minutes left in the first period with a goal by the Seawolves’ freshman Kerry Kresse.

The momentum picked up for the Minutewomen side, as Cosgrove notched her second goal with three minutes, 17 seconds remaining. Right from the break, UMass continued its push with sophomore Ali Houlis gaining a score.

All of the Minutewomen’s first half goals were scored off free-position shots. The only goal in the first half that came off something other than a free-position shot came from an assist by SBU junior Samantha Djaha.

The push by UMass going into the second half was cut short, as the Seawolves answered back with two goals to lead, 5-4. O’Donnell notched her 19th goal of the season to tie the game up, but the SBU side would not keep it that way for long.

After O’Donnell’s score, a five-goal run began for the Seawolves. Over a 16-minute span, Djaha (2), Jackie Hughes, Courtney Bertolone and Nicole Morane all put the ball into the back of the net to give SBU a 10-5 lead.

Houlis broke up the run with another free-position goal, but her efforts were downed after the Seawolves closed out the game with another two-goal run.

The Minutewomen led in draw controls (12-8) and ground balls (16-15); however, other pieces of the game left much to be desired. Over her 58 minutes of play, goalkeeper Katie Florence earned one save, opposed to SBU goalkeeper Mickey Cahill who earned 10 saves.

Despite earning five goals off the free position, UMass failed on eight other attempts from the same spot. The Seawolves were a perfect 4-for-4 on the free position.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]