Women’s Lax Jumps Into Second Place

Edouard Boulat

Spring Break did not involve a lot of relaxing for the Colgate’s women’s lacrosse team, as the Raiders attacked the middle part of their season and faced five top-notch opponents, including defending Patriot League champion Holy Cross and nationally-ranked Denver in Colorado. The first of the five-game stretch was on Saturday March 8th, when the Raiders hosted Holy Cross. Despite falling behind 5-1 in the first fifteen minutes of the game, Colgate managed to turn the game around and score the last seven first- half goals of the game, taking an 8-5 lead at halftime. Sophomore Brie Moran scored three of those late first-half goals en route to getting four goals during the game. She scored again for Colgate early in the second half, and junior Ashley Didio and sophomore Katie Holland followed that score up with a goal apiece. Both Didio and Holland finished the game with two goals each, helping pace an offense that frustrated Holy Cross all game long, putting up 36 shots to Holy Cross’ 18. In the end, the Raiders withheld a late run by the defending champs when they took possession of the ball and ran out the clock with a minute left, sealing a 11-8 victory.

“Holy Cross was a huge win for us,” first-year midfielder Missy Guisti said. “They had been undefeated in the Patriot League since 2006 so it really proved to us that we can handle any opponent in our league.”

Junior goalkeeper Sara Drexel earned the win for the Raiders, who won their first Patriot League game with the victory. Colgate’s win also snapped Holy Cross’ 15-game winning streak against Patriot League opponents.

Colgate traveled to the University of Albany the following Tuesday to take on the Great Danes in a back-and-forth game. Again it was sophomore Brie Moran who led the charge for Colgate, netting three goals and leading an offense that saw six players score. Senior Lindsay Pittard put Colgate up 1-0 in the first period, but the Raiders’ lead would be short-lived, as Albany responded with a quick run to go up 5-1. Over the next ten minutes, Colgate would cut the deficit to 6-4, but again the Great Danes answered back with two late first-period goals to take a 8-4 lead heading into the half. Both teams traded goals in the second half, and although Colgate scored five of the game’s last eight goals, Albany managed to earn the 12-9 win. First-year Colleen Bubnack recorded a career-high four points(one goal, three assists) against Albany, and senior Jessica Van der Meulen netted two goals and collected four groundballs for Colgate. The Raiders out shot Albany 27-25 in the game, but could not build up enough momentum in the end of the game to complete their comeback.

Looking to bounce back, Colgate then traveled to Denver, Colorado for Spring Break, where the Raiders faced No. 19/20 Denver and Marist. Although Colgate lost 20-14, the Raiders made a very strong showing against Denver considering the long road trip. Senior captain Jessica Van der Meulen led the Raiders with four goals and an assist, managing to keep the game close all the way into the second half. The two teams were tied at six and eight, but Denver scored five straight to end the first half and take a 13-8 advantage into halftime. Leading scorer and sophomore Brie Moran also added four goals, and first-year Kate Bergstrum netted two goals and an assist. The Raiders’ offense kept things interesting throughout the whole game, putting up 32 shots and out-shooting Denver in the second half.

“We really kept with them for most of the game expect for maybe four or five minutes,” Guisti said. “To play like that against a top 20 opponent and be a few plays away from winning gave us a lot of confidence.”

A few days later Colgate played the Red Foxes of Marist in yet another tightly contested game. The Red Foxes jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but they could not hold off the Colgate charge for long. The Raiders’ offense came alive, scoring six straight goals to end the first half and the first goal of the second half. Marist mounted a late comeback, but it wasn’t enough, and Colgate held on for a 15-12 victory. Seven Raiders scored in this game, including junior Ashley Didio and first-year Colleen Bubnack, who netted two apiece. Junior goalkeeper Sara Drexel earned her third win of the season with eight saves in the game.

Returning from Spring Break, it was not long before Colgate was back on the field facing Navy and its first-year program at Tyler’s Field last Saturday. The Raiders handed Navy the first loss of program history, 19-10. Colgate went on a four-goal run midway in the first period to distance itself, 7-3. However, Navy responded with three goals of their own to close the gap to 7-6 going into halftime. But the Mids were undone when the Raiders came out on fire in the second half, netting five straight goals on their way to victory. Sophomore Meghan Lawler had a career day by netting five goals, which was a contributing factor in her winning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week Honors. Junior Molly Carroll took home Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts in this game, and she also scored two goals. Van der Meulen and junior Ashley Didio added two goals apiece. Colgate out-shot Navy 22-10 in that pivotal second half. The Raiders are now 2-0 in the Patriot League and only a half game behind 3-0 American for first place.

“We didn’t really know what to expect from Navy,” first-year midfielder Liz Lan said. “We knew they were a first-year program and that they had scored a lot of goals in their first few games. Right now our confidence is building more and more as we get ready to play some big games against American and Lehigh.”

The Raiders will look to improve on the league record next Friday when they play at the Lafayette Leopards.