Bears defend Ocean State Cup title

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coming off a dominant 13-6 victory at Holy Cross last Wednesday, the women’s lacrosse team (5-2, 1-1 Ivy League) continued its winning ways Sunday against an in-state foe, defeating Bryant University 14-4. Bruno’s stalwart defense was the key to success in both games, as the Crusaders (2-7) and the Bulldogs (1-5) struggled to consistently find the back of the net. Ten different Brown players recorded either a goal or an assist in the win, which gave the Bears the Ocean State Cup title for the second year running.

“I think it’s great that we have an Ocean State Cup,” said tri-captain Alexa Caldwell ’11. “I think it will be a great tradition looking forward and hopefully expand lacrosse in Rhode Island.”

The Bears’ offense got off to a roaring start in defense of the Cup, as two goals from Caldwell and one each from Erin Roos ’14 and Kaela McGilloway ’12 established an early 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs were able to pull one back from a free position shot in the 11th minute, but Bruno responded swiftly, adding three more goals from Bre Hudgins ’14, Grace Healy ’14 and Julia Keller ’12 over the next 10 minutes. Strong transition defense kept the Bulldogs at bay for the rest of the half, allowing the Bears to head into the intermission with a commanding 7-1 lead.

The second half started similarly to the first, with Bruno again netting two early goals, this time from Caldwell and Keller. It became clear that the Brown offense could counteract any Bryant attack, as the Bears responded to each Bryant tally in the next 15 minutes with two goals of their own to maintain a double-digit lead 13-3. One late Bryant goal from Madeleine Pickett was answered again by a Bruno strike, as Healy’s late goal secured the 14-4 victory and the honor of Ocean State Cup champion for the second consecutive season.

The Bears’ defense was stellar in its last two games. The team’s 30-15 advantage in ground balls won and 20-13 advantage in draw controls helped subdue both the Crusader and Bulldog offenses.

“One of our biggest goals was to really do well on all the hustle plays, which are draws and ground balls,” Caldwell said. Healy has “consistently won a lot of draws every game, but a lot of people are winning draws recently, which really helps,” Caldwell added.

“The defensive unit played strong,” added Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00. “They were physical and adjusted to the officials calling a lot. I thought they played smart.”

Bruno now looks to take its stingy defense cross-country with the hopes of slowing powerful No. 7 Stanford next Tuesday at 4 p.m. This game will be the first of a few difficult matchups for the Bears, as they move on to play four games in 13 days, three of which are against ranked opponents.

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