Playoff hopes dashed for women’s lacrosse

Class of 2014 will graduate without postseason appearance despite strong start to campaign

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, April 21, 2014

The women’s lacrosse team lost its fourth straight Ivy League game Saturday, falling 12-6 to a strong No. 10 Penn squad. The loss eliminates the Bears (9-5, 2-4 Ivy) from postseason contention, making it impossible for them to crack the top four Ivy teams and participate in the conference tournament. Despite a strong start to the season, marked by a win over Ivy leader Princeton, two one-goal losses and two blowouts have sent the Bears spiraling down the conference ladder.

At Saturday’s contest in Philadelphia, neither team broke into the scoring column through the first eight minutes of play, until the Quakers (8-4, 4-1) finally got on the board to take an early lead. This advantage gave Penn the momentum, driving the team to score twice more in less than two minutes to extend its lead to three.

Hoping to shift the momentum to Bruno, Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00 called a timeout with 20 minutes left in the half, trying to regain control of the game — with some luck. Co-captain Bre Hudgins ’14 scored Bruno’s first goal of the game off a free position shot two minutes after McDonald’s pep talk.

“We weren’t getting the draw and we were letting them get some feeds in,” McDonald said. “They were doing a really nice job feeding with just inches.”

But the attempt to dent Penn’s lead would not go unanswered. The Quakers retaliated by doubling their total, claiming a 6-1 lead over the Bears with five minutes left in the half. McDonald then pulled struggling goaltender Kellie Roddy ’15, filling her spot with Victoria Holland ’16. The clock wound down to 15 seconds before Kerrianne Hunt ’17 scored her 14th goal of the season off an assist from Ivy League points leader Danielle Mastro ’14. Brown entered the intermission down 6-2.

“Their offense played well,” McDonald said. “They executed well. Their pressure in the ride was strong.”

In the second half, the Quakers continued to capitalize where Bruno faltered. Penn returned from the break to score three more unanswered goals, as Tory Bensen completed a hat trick for the Quakers. Hudgins responded once again with her 38th goal of the season to narrow Penn’s lead to 9-3. Hudgins’ goal made this season the highest-scoring of her career, but it would not be enough Saturday.

Following Hudgins’ goal, the last 20 minutes of the game saw Bruno match Penn’s scoring. Both teams scored three more goals before the final buzzer, changing neither the outcome nor Bruno’s six-goal deficit. The Quakers scored twice more to lead by eight, after which McDonald put Roddy back in at goal. Co-captain Grace Healy ’14 pulled out two consecutive goals to clip Penn’s lead to six, 11-5. In the last 30 seconds, both teams found the back of the net again, with Lauren Toy ’16 scoring the final goal of the game.

“I actually thought our defense played well overall,” McDonald said. But Penn’s tight offensive play ultimately did get the best of Bruno.

The Bears committed 17 turnovers Saturday, forcing only eight from the Quakers. Holland allowed six goals and made one save in her longest appearance of the season outside of Bruno’s 19-6 thumping of Sacred Heart Feb. 23. The team edged Penn on draw controls, but was vastly outshot in the contest.

Even as the senior class lost its chance at the postseason, McDonald commended how much they have contributed to the program.

“They’re amazing,” she said. “As women, as competitors, each one of them has grown so much as an athlete and a person … I wish we could have been in the tournament with them, but I think everyone knows the impact they have made on the program … just the fact that they’re actually disappointed that we lost to a top ten team, shows how much progress the program has made, and I don’t think they even realize that.”

The Bears travel to New Haven Saturday for their last game of the season against Yale (8-6, 2-4). A win over Yale would tie the program’s record for wins in a season, at 10.