Lacrosse makes comeback attempt but stumbles in home opener

Media Credit: Sabrina Godin | Staff Photographer

A late-game push wasn’t enough to elevate lacrosse over American Wednesday in its home opener.

The Colonials (0-4) fell to the Eagles (4-0) in a high-scoring 20–16 duel. Five different Colonials fired a goal into the net in the final 90 seconds of the matchup to bring the squad within striking distance of its cross-town rival.

“The switch turned on, and they, I believe, got angry and felt the passion and decided to play to win as opposed to not to lose,” head coach Jennifer Ulehla said. “And I think when you get a hold of that as a competitor, you don’t think about the other things and you just stay in the motion and you move the ball and you create and you score.”

Eight different Colonials netted goals, with sophomore midfielder Tori Hampton and junior attacker Ioanna Mantzouratos leading the charge with hat tricks. Sophomore goalkeeper Meghan Patrick started between the pipes, recording 12 saves and 15 goals in 50 minutes of action.

American did most of its damage in the first period, notching 14 goals through the first 30 minutes of play. Senior attacker Casey Harkins opened the scoring sheet, taking the first of her three goals. But sophomore attacker Kendall Lambert evened the score less than a minute later.

The Eagles opened the floodgates with a four-goal run, and in that stretch, junior attacker Emma Vinall was responsible for three of them. Vinall finished the contest with five goals on nine shots. Hampton staved American’s momentum with her first goal of the day.

American went on three more multi-goal runs in the first period. After three Eagles goals in less than four minutes, junior midfielder Catie Perkins netted her first. Perkins was the most efficient Colonial, netting two shots on goal and converting them into two goals. She also dished out two assists.

The Colonials strung together one pair of back-to-back goals in the first frame. Lambert earned her second goal of the game to bring GW within three. Senior attacker and midfielder Caroline Kiernan followed with another goal less than two minutes later.

GW couldn’t find its rhythm in the latter half of the first period and entered the locker room with an eight-goal deficit.

American senior goalkeeper Emma Curtis battled throughout the game, saving 13 shots in a full 60 minutes of play. She made four saves to start the second period before the Colonials could break through. Hampton kicked off the second period by capitalizing on a free position shot.

American quickly converged to boost the lead again, going on a three-goal run to widen the deficit to 10. An onslaught of goals from Kiernan, senior midfielder Katie Quinn and Mantzouratos pulled the Colonials within seven.

“The movement that we produced today was really good,” Kiernan said. “That’s something that we’ve been working on at practice, and we showed it on the field. And also just having confidence in each other, and the individual person with the ball having confidence and converting it into a goal.”

Thirty seconds later, the Eagles struck again, extending the lead to eight. They added one more for good measure at the 2:55 mark before remaining scoreless for the rest of the game.

When the Eagles went silent, the Colonials began to heat up, netting five goals in 90 seconds. Just two goals needed assists, and both came from Perkins. On the day, the Colonials tallied eight assists, two more than American.

“Coming off of this last minute and a half I think we can learn a lot, take the rest period that we have for tomorrow, we have off practice, and then just go into every practice exactly how we played in that minute and a half,” Mantzouratos said. “And then come out with that same fire at Campbell.”

The Colonials are back on the Mount Vernon Campus for the final game of their homestand Sunday. They will take on Campbell at 1 p.m.

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