Women’s Lacrosse Falls to Army in Season Opener

W Lax 02.14.18Women’s lacrosse dropped their season opener to Army West Point Black Knights 12-9 on Saturday afternoon. The Hawks busted to an early lead thanks to sophomore attacker Nicole Ceraso who buried a free position goal three minutes into the game. Army’s offensive wasted little time responding with four straight goals over the next ten minutes to negate Monmouth’s hot start.

The Hawks cut the deficit in half at the 14:46 mark in the first period, but Army answered right away to extend their advantage by three in the same minute. Both sides’ scoring slowed at this point and the teams struggled to convert any of their chances. As the half approached, it was Monmouth’s senior attacker Alexa Smith who scored back-to-back goals to make it 5-4 Army at half.

Monmouth was first to score two minutes into the second half as freshman midfielder Allison Stofregen recorded her first collegiate goal to tie it up at five a piece. With this goal, the Hawks seemed to have gained the momentum and were looking to capture the led once again. Army shattered that idea by adding two more goals and with 20 minutes on the clock, the Hawks trailed by two.  

Senior midfielder and captain Claudia LaMarca brought the Hawks within one with her first of two, but the Black Knights kept pace by scoring two more soon after to make it 6-8 Knights. Monmouth continued to battle over the remaining 12 minutes of play but never came within two goals of tying.  When the clock reached zero, the final score read 12-9 Knights.

The Black Knights led in all offensive statistical categories, out-shooting the Hawks by five and converting half off their free positions compared to Hawks who only converted 25 percent of their chances.  Not to be forgotten in the loss was the exceptional play of junior goalie Riley Brager, who made ten critical saves throughout the game to keep her team close.  

“I think that this was our first game to air everything out,” Head Coach Jordan Trautman said. “We are going to talk about how it was our first time competing against someone else. This is not going to define us but we need to make some adjustments and move forward,”

Additionally, this was the first game under coach Trautman who accepted the position in July.

“I think this is an incredible opportunity and I am excited to revamp the program and take it to the next level,” Trautman said. “I believe I have a group of kids who are able to do that. That makes me excited because they have bought into what we are doing. I know that it is a process, so we have to be patient and we will have to stay the course,”

The Hawks came into the season as the fifth seed in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) after finishing fifth in the rankings last year. The Hawks had two players selected to preseason All-MAAC teams, senior midfielder Caroline Corbliss and sophomore attacker Nicole Ceraso.  Also returning is LaMarca who was selected as team captain for the second year in a row. 

“It means a lot because you have a new coaching staff with new dynamics,” LaMarca said. “We have a new mentality and being able to lead this group of girls to our potential is exciting. I am thrilled that me and Amanda will have this opportunity.”

Monmouth will look to rebound this week with two homes games at Kessler Stadium. First up will be a matchup against Temple at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday and followed by a showdown with Rutgers on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY of B51/Mark Brown