The women’s lacrosse team started their 2016 conference play by battling for a victory over the Siena Saints 16-15 on Saturday at the Siena Turf Field in Loudonville, NY.
“Starting 1-0 in MAAC play is very important,” said Monmouth Head Coach Eileen Ghent. “This league is competitive and every win will be earned, which makes this win even more significant. Today was an exciting, hard fought game. Siena is an explosive offensive team and one that will surely find success.”
The Hawks hit the ground running in the first half when senior attacker Michelle Gonzales netted a goal 43 seconds into regulation, setting the tone for a half which contained 22 combined goals by both teams. After a 3-0 run by Siena, MU answered with a sophomore midfielder Kate Ryan goal at the 23:48 minute mark, bringing the Blue and White within one.
After a two-goal stint with 15:48 remaining in the half gave Siena an 8-6 lead, MU would score the next five goals in just over five minutes. Siena stopped the bleeding with a goal by senior attacker Sarah Croutier which was followed by Higson’s third goal of the game with 2:28 left on the clock, putting MU ahead 12-9.
Another Siena goal with under a minute left would send both teams into halftime with the Hawks leading, 12-10.
The beginning of the second half belonged to Siena, as the Saints came out on a three-goal run in just over the first nine minutes to put them ahead by one.
Higson would answer back with a goal but senior defenseman Ashley Ruchalski’s free position goal with 14:32 left gave Siena a one goal lead, 14-13.
MU began their comeback with Pierce scoring at the 7:30 mark, followed by sophomore midfielder Caroline Corbliss netting two shots over a 48-second span. Siena senior midfielder Lauren Smith answered with a goal to bring the Saints within one with 1:26 remaining in regulation, but Pierce sealed the victory by controlling the ensuing draw, giving MU a chance to wind the clock down and beat the Saints, 16-15.
“Caroline Corbliss showed up huge today,” Ghent said. “She executed our game plan perfectly and did everything she could for us to win.”
Senior goalie Caroline Huelster finished with six ground balls to go along with her 14 saves to earn the victory, earning her MAAC Defensive Player of the Week.
MU held a 35-32 edge in shots and was successful in 13 of its 15 clear attempts. The Hawks corralled 17 draw controls, compared to 14 for the Saints.
Monmouth returns home next Sunday, Apr. 3, hosting Niagara at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live from Monmouth Stadium on ESPN3.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics