The Monmouth University men’s and women’s lacrosse teams dominated several out of conference matchups, with both teams going undefeated during their second week of the season.
The men’s team kicked things off with a 14-9 win over NJIT in the Hawks’ home opener on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Coming off of a tough 9-22 loss against New Jersey rival Princeton in their season opener a few days prior, this was an important victory for Monmouth.
The first two periods of play were dominated by the Hawks, who put up eight goals compared to NJIT’s two. The tables turned slightly in the second half as NJIT bounced back with seven goals, but Monmouth squared away six of their own to maintain the lead they established in the first half and ultimately secure their first victory of the season.
Graduate attack Cade Stratton led Monmouth’s offensive effort against the Highlanders, putting away four goals to earn his seventh career hattrick and forcing four turnovers. Senior attack Connor Macrae scored three goals of his own to put the Hawks ahead in the matchup, marking his eighth career hattrick.
Matt Karsian, Ty Caffarelli, and Sean Ketchen were also key players for the Hawks’ offense, each adding two goals in the win.
“[I am] proud of the guys with how we responded on a quick turnaround from Saturday’s game and how we prepared for NJIT. It felt great to earn our first win of the season and the staff and I are proud of the way we responded this afternoon every time NJIT got close in the second half,” said Head Coach Brian Fisher.
On the women’s side, the Hawks earned another important victory. Coming off of a 9-15 loss to Navy, Monmouth bounced back with a vengeance against Manhattan in a decisive 14-3 win. The Hawks dominated the entire matchup, going into halftime with a solid 7-3 lead and shutting out the Jaspers in the second half while putting away an additional seven goals of their own to bury the opposition, 14-3.
Junior attack Mya Brock was an integral part of the Hawks’ offense, earning five points on the afternoon with two goals and three assists throughout the matchup. Sophomore attack Caroline Brennan also proved to be a key player for Monmouth, burying four goals to match her season high and earn her second hattrick of the season. Sophomore midfielder Danielle McNeely was another powerhouse for the Hawks, putting away one goal, three assists, and four ground balls against the Jaspers.
Monmouth dominated offensively, outshooting Manhattan 30-11 and with nine Hawks scoring at least one goal in the matchup. Monmouth came up strong on defense as well, allowing a season-low three goals and earning 14 caused turnovers led by McNeely with four and Cassidy Orban and Gabriella Vangeli each with three.
Both the men’s and women’s teams played on Saturday, Feb. 25. The men traveled to Brookville, New York to play Long Island University. After a slow start that left them in a hefty 5-1 deficit, the Hawks bounced back with an eight goal run to earn a 10-6 win over the Sharks.
Macrae matched his career high with five goals, a feat he has accomplished three other times in his career. Four of these goals came during the run that saved the game for Monmouth. The senior recorded his ninth career hattrick and he now has a team-high nine goals this year and 45 across his career, ranking eighth in program history.
Caffarelli scored twice against the Sharks, his second consecutive game putting up two goals, and now has five on the season. Other notable efforts came from sophomore midfielder Luke Cole, who earned a career high three assists, senior midfielder Matt Karsian, whose goal and two assists gives him seven points this season and a goal in three straight games, and junior midfielder Sean Ketchen, who has scored for the Hawks in every game so far this season.
In goal, Andrew Kuhlman made nine saves to keep the Hawks in front. Stratton caused four turnovers, followed closely by teammates Jack Gertie, Michael Quigg and Ryan Morris, who each had three apiece.
“We were a little off after a slow start and took some plays for granted which put us in a hole early on,” explained Fisher. “Once we got a feel for them defensively, we were stellar in the second half.”
The women’s team kept the victory streak going with a hard-fought 12-9 victory over Columbia that same afternoon. Much like the men’s game in New York earlier that same day, the Hawks struggled to find momentum at the start of the matchup and fell into a 3-1 rut in the first period. Mimicking the men’s comeback, the women’s team put together a 6-0 run to give Monmouth a 7-3 advantage, led by dual goals and an assist each from Orban and junior attack Ella Spears. Columbia bounced back with three goals of their own, but the Hawks managed to hold onto a 7-6 lead going into halftime.
The Hawks powered through the second half, putting two goals on the scoreboard to start the third period and adding even more throughout the fourth. Columbia never managed to catch up, letting Monmouth get away with the win.
Orban was all over the stat sheet in this matchup, earning two goals, three assists, four draw controls, two ground balls, and a caused turnover. The grad student matched her season high with five total points. Although Brennan was held to only one goal, she has now scored a goal in 21 straight games and recorded a point in 23 consecutive contests.
Sophomore midfielder Maddie Murphy and Spears each had two goals and one assist on the afternoon. Brianna Falco earned six draw controls, her season-best, and caused four turnovers to tie her season and career high. As a team, the Hawks posted a season-high with 14 caused turnovers in the contest.
“I’m thrilled for our players that we were able to grit out a win today. It was one of those days when things don’t always bounce your way and we found a way to get the result we wanted even when it was tough. We showed a lot of resiliency which will no doubt be important later in the season,” said Head Coach Jordan Trautman.
Up next for the Hawks, both teams will travel to Staten Island, New York to take on Wagner. The men are up first, scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. game on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The women will play the next day on Wednesday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m.