Olivia Higson

Women’s Lacrosse Remain Undefeated in Conference

Olivia HigsonThe women’s lacrosse team extended their winning streak to five games this past week to improve to 8-3 overall on the season, and are currently tied with Fairfield and Canisius for first place in the MAAC at 3-0.

MU first overcame an early four goal deficit on the road at Quinnipiac to earn a thrilling 11-10 overtime win over the Bobcats. Sophomore Olivia Higson and junior Marial Pierce led the Hawks’ attack with three goals apiece, and Higson added an assist as well. Senior midfielder Allison Stathius also scored multiple goals with two and added an assist of her own. 

“I was very proud of how we came back,” said head coach Denise Wescott. “Once we started to come back, we worked hard to get the draw and then made some great plays to get possession back and tie it. I was really pleased in overtime that we were composed, got the draw and maintained possession long enough to make a couple of big plays when we needed to.”  

Trailing 5-1 with just under ten minutes to play in the first period the Hawks were able to stay composed and battle their way back. Behind two goals from Stathius MU outscored the Bobcats 4-1 over the remaining of the period, and headed into the half trailing by only one. 

The contest remained close throughout the second period. Quinnipiac briefly increased their lead to two with 25 minutes remaining in regulation, but just over a minute later sophomore Claudia LaMarca responded with a score to cut the lead back to one. 

After another QU goal, the Hawks responded with two straight goals from junior Michelle Gonzales and Pierce to tie the game at eight.

With less than nine minutes to go in the second, the blue and white again found themselves trailing by one. Higson brought MU right back, however, to even the score once again. Pierce’s third goal of the game gave the Hawks their first lead of the contest at the 5:26 mark, but it was short lived as just 10 seconds later the Bobcats’ Kyra Ochwat got it past MU keeper Katie Donohoe to send the game into overtime. 

Neither team generated many scoring opportunities through the first half of overtime, and with less than two minutes remaining the score was still tied at ten. After a save from the QU goalie Gonzales won the following draw for the Hawks and got the ball into the offensive zone. A quality Hawks possession eventually led to a shot opportunity for Higson who was fouled on the attempt and awarded an eight meter penalty shot. Higson found the back of the net with 1:22 to play, and the MU was able to run out the clock and seal the victory.

Momentum appeared to carry over for the Hawks when they returned home three days later to take on Siena. MU recorded a season high 20 goals in a blowout victory over the Saints, and never trailed throughout the contest. 

Stathius and Pierce continued their solid play with each recording a hat-trick, and sophomore midfielder Carly Sane added three goals of her own off the bench. Senior captain Emily Barbieri also got herself in the scoring column, but contributed mostly by finding her teammates with a career high five assists. Donohoe was impressive in net for MU as she made eight saves for the contest. 

“It comes from everybody throughout the entire field,” said Barbieri after the win. “Defense, goaltending, the midfield attack, there’s not just one person who had a solid game. It was all of us out there.”

Carly Sane, a sophomore, got things started for MU just a minute after the first draw when she took a pass from Barbieri and put it in to give the Hawks an early 1-0 advantage. Siena responded right away, however, and evened the game at a goal apiece just 15 seconds later. 

The Hawks did not let the Saints hang around for long though, and scored five consecutive goals over the next 10 minutes to take a 6-1 lead at the 18:19 mark of the first period. The run was highlighted by two Stathius scores and two more assists from Barbieri. 

Siena managed to cut MU’s lead to three with seven minutes remaining in the first, but the Hawks closed out the period with two goals in the final four minutes and headed into the half holding a five score advantage. 

It was all MU from that point on as the blue and white came out aggressively to start the second period. Four straight Hawk goals in the first eleven minutes of the period gave them a 14-5 lead and all but put the game away. Siena would get no closer than eight over the final 19 minutes of play, and two late MU goals pushed the score to 20-8 when the clock hit zero. 

“I was really pleased,” said Wescott. “I thought we executed our game plan really well. Offensively, that is the smartest game we have played this year. When we needed to get some goals and get ahead our offense played really well together. I thought we did a nice job creating great looks. 

The Hawks look to make it six straight Wednesday, April 8 when they welcome 3-9 Manhattan for another conference showdown. Start time is scheduled for 3:00 pm.