Women’s lacrosse starts season on high note with decisive victories

Nonconference opponents allow Bruno to tune up before Ivy League play starts next weekend

Sports Editor
Monday, March 2, 2015

The women’s lacrosse team continued its strong start to the season this weekend, drubbing Iona and Central Connecticut State on the road 13-6 and 13-5, respectively.

The Bears (3-0) are continuing a trend of early-season success: Last year’s team started 7-0, including a pair of Ivy League wins. But Bruno wilted down the stretch, finishing the year 2-6 and dropping all five of its final conference games.

Midfielder Abby Bunting ’15 said the team hopes to stay hot this year. “If we remain positive throughout our season and focus on getting better every week, we won’t have a chance to cool off,” she said.

Last season ended with Bruno in seventh place, falling short of the fourth-place finish necessary to qualify for the Ivy tournament. The team has not made the tournament in the last 13 years, which is as far back as records are available.

But Bunting believes this year’s team is even better than it has shown so far.

“Our team has a lot of potential, and we are nowhere close to being our best selves,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do, and if we continue to grow, it will make us that much better later on in the season when we play some of our tougher games.”

Despite the graduation of more than half of the team’s goals from 2014 — a total of 93 from Bre Hudgins ’14, Danielle Mastro ’14 and Grace Healey ’14 — the Bears are still a potent offensive force. They have scored at least 12 goals in each of their first three games, and they torched the Gaels (2-2) and the Blue Devils (1-3) for 13.

“A lot of different people have been stepping up on offense, which has made us a hard team to stop,” Bunting said. “We are a new team, so the more we play together, the better we understand each person’s tendencies, and that makes our offense much more dynamic.”

Filling the departed seniors’ shoes, three more players have emerged as the team’s primary offensive options. Lauren Toy ’16 leads the Bears with eight scores, followed closely by Janie Gion ’15 with six and Yuna Hur ’18 with five. The trio has combined for exactly half of Bruno’s 38 goals on the year.

But against Iona and CCSU, the Bears distributed their offense well. Eight different players scored against the Gaels, and nine found the back of the net against the Blue Devils. No player scored more than three goals in either game.

The Bears jumped all over Iona, leading 6-2 at halftime and taking an 11-3 lead just over halfway through the second half to all but seal the victory. Toy led the offense with three goals on the afternoon.

Against Central Connecticut, Bruno entered the intermission with a 5-2 lead and pulled away with five goals in just over five minutes early in the second half.

Bruno’s defense also had an excellent day against the Blue Devils. The back line limited CCSU to just 21 shots and 15 on goal, while the Bears mustered up 31 and 24, respectively. Against Iona, the Bears held only a 22-20 lead in shots but a decisive 20-12 advantage in shots on goal.

Goalie Kellie Roddy ’15 did her part in stonewalling both teams, saving 15 of 26 shots on the weekend. She has saved an even 55 percent of her shots faced this season, a dramatic improvement on last season’s 45.4 percent rate.

The Bears open Ivy play Saturday against No. 12 Penn, which will mark the first true test of this team’s mettle.

“We are really excited,” Bunting said. “Ivy League games bring out a whole new level of intensity and competition. Penn is a great team, and we always play them close, so we are excited to get the win this year.”