Sports

Women’s lacrosse drops Ivy League opener to Penn

Brown handed first losses of season as late-game heroics not enough to secure victories

By
Staff Writer
Monday, March 7, 2016

Sporting a 2-0 record going into matchups against Denver Wednesday and No. 16 Penn Saturday — its first Ivy League opponent of the season — the women’s lacrosse team looked to capitalize on its momentum in its first big tests of the year.

Unfortunately for Bruno (2-2, 0-1 Ivy), the team was unable to overcome an early deficit against Denver (2-3, 1-1 MPSF) despite a strong late-game rally, ultimately falling to the Pioneers 5-3. At Penn (3-1, 1-0) — last year’s Ivy League runner-up — an early goal put Bruno on the scoreboard first. But the team was overwhelmed by a dominating Quaker offense that notched four goals in each half en route to an 8-3 victory.

Co-captain and leading scorer Lauren Toy ’16 was disappointed but optimistic about this past week, referring to the games as “huge learning opportunities.”

Brown had a difficult time hitting the ground running against Denver, allowing two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Bears responded as rookie Grace Plassche ’19 notched her first career collegiate goal, but Bruno still trailed 3-1 at the end of the half.

Brown was much more competitive in the second half, carried by a two-goal surge from Toy. Still, her goals were not enough to close the gap, as Denver maintained its two-goal cushion.

Insurance goals by the Pioneers at 24:01 and 21:22 as well as dominant performances in ground balls and draws, which the Pioneers led 25-16 and 7-3 respectively, all factored in to keep Denver in front, ending in a 5-3 loss for Bruno.

“Denver was certainly a rough loss,” Toy said. “But we learned what we needed to work on and didn’t repeat many of those same mistakes (against Penn), and that speaks volumes to the growth, focus and work ethic of this team.”

Against Penn — each team’s Ivy League opener — Bruno scored first, with a goal from midfielder Jillian Lee ’17. But Penn responded decisively with a strong six-goal run that lasted well into the second half.

Penn’s offensive productivity was overwhelming for the Bears, who could not close the five-goal deficit despite goals late into the second half by Toy and sophomore attacker Rose Mangiarotti ’18.

With only 9:22 remaining, Bruno fell short again. While leading Penn in ground balls and saves, it trailed in shots and draw controls. At the final buzzer, the score read 8-3 in favor of Penn.

With eight goals and 12 overall points on the season, Toy alone accounts for about a third of the team’s overall productivity. But big solo performances are not enough to ensure long-term success, Toy said.

“In the game of lacrosse, all seven people on offense need to be a threat for a team to be successful,” she said. “Some people on this team have already stepped up, and I have no doubt that more will continue to do so. The best part is our team has an amazing work ethic, and as we keep improving — both as a team and individually — we will find more and more success.”

Co-captain Richael Walsh ’16 added that, while the team exhibited intense “grit” and “resiliency” this week, the past two games highlighted key aspects the team will try to improve on: stick skills and shooting.

“As captains, it’s up to us to set the pace for urgency and aggression. We know it’s not going to be a perfect season. What’s important to us is that we get better every week and respond aggressively to any setbacks,” she added.

Bruno’s season continues this week with two contests, the first at Bryant Wednesday at 7 p.m. and then a home game against Colgate Sunday.

“There isn’t much more you can ask for than improvement,” Toy said. “And we are determined to keep making huge strides all season that will set us up for more and more wins.”