The Union College women’s lacrosse team put three goals on the board before St. Lawrence had a chance to set up for its first offensive possession.
The Dutchwomen were just getting warmed up in their final regular-season home game, using a second offensive surge to take firm control Saturday in a key 16-4 Liberty League victory at Frank Bailey Field.
“This was big for us. We lost five or six one-goal games, and we wanted to prove we’re better than our record shows. We wanted to prove that we could beat a quality opponent,” said Union College junior attacker Kristin Joyce. “This was also for the seniors.”
Union, unbeaten in six Liberty League starts and 9-5 overall, rattled off seven unanswered goals to boost its first-half advantage to 10-1, and was never threatened afterward in winning for the seventh time in eight games while maintaining its share of the Libery League top spot with Hamilton (6-0, 14-0).
With the setback, St. Lawrence (6-2, 12-2) was denied a three-game sweep of the Capital Region colleges. The Saints defeated Skidmore Friday and Rensselaer last week, and saw their five-game winning streak come to and end.
“We did a good job in the first 15 minutes in each half,” said Union coach Jessica Critchlow. “We clicked a bit today, and when that happens, we can do some damage.”
Joyce delivered six goals and an assist, and Melissa Hine had two goals and three assists, with the juniors collecting all of their points in the first half as the hosts went up, 12-3.
Joyce scored her first goal 10 seconds into the contest, and Keelin Skurek connected 14 seconds after that before Joyce made it 3-0 with the game just 61 seconds old.
“That built our momentum up,” said Joyce, after reaching the 60-goal mark for the season. “That first goal, that was for our two injured seniors [Jill LaForest and Allie Cuozzo].”
“That gives you confidence. It gets you rolling,” Critchlow said of the three-goal burst. “When we feel good about ourselves, we play well.”
Union, the nation’s No. 11-ranked Division III team, played extremely well over the first 30 minutes, and outshot St. Lawrence, 24-5, while forcing 13 turnovers and winning 11 of 16 center draws. Niskayuna graduate Maria Prendergast and Kat Egizi both won three of them.
“We were really outstanding on the center draws,” Critchlow said. “That gave us extra possessions.”
Alanna Piroli scored St. Lawrence’s initial goal with 28:08 left in the first half, and Union answered with its seven in a row, three coming off Joyce’s stick while Hine fired in two more, her second making it 10-1 with 6:03 left.
Joyce capped her big first half on a goal with three seconds remaining after taking a feed from Hime.
“She’s a shark. She just finishes,” Critchlow said of Joyce, who scored her six goals on nine shots. “She sees the seam to the goal and is outstanding.”
Goals by Skurek, Abby Strohler, Chelsea Charette and Casey Dianni extended Union’s lead to 16-3 in the second half. Union has outscored its league opponents by 91-27.
“We did a good job of finishing the game. We played Cortland earlier this week and we were up, 6-2, and we let it get away,” Critchlow said of Tuesday’s 13-12 non-conference overtime loss. “We thought we had the game. That was a learning lesson.”
“There was no way were going to let this game be close,” said Joyce.
Union is on the road for its final two league games, at William Smith Friday and at Hamilton Saturday. Hamilton, which beat Rochester Saturday, 18-1, is ranked No. 1 in the nation.
“Another notch,” Critchlow said of her team’s bid for the league championship. “We’re trying to finish strong. One at a time.”
Prendergast, Cuozzo, LaForest, Skurek and Union’s other seniors, Lizzy Moran, Becca Kriskey and Melissa McDonald, were recognized for their contributions to the program following the game.
St. Lawrence 3 1 — 4
Union 12 4 — 16
St. Lawrence scoring: Alanna Piroli 1-0, Nora Langan 1-0, Kim Morse 1-0, Lexi Wisnowski 0-1, Emily Viani 1-0. Union scoring: Kristin Joyce 6-1, Keelin Skurek 2-0, Mel Hine 2-3, Britany Fraser 1-3, Heather Fraser 1-0, Abby Stohler 1-2, Chelsea Charette 2-0, Casey Dianni 1-0.
Goalkeepers: St. Lawrence, Anna Marchand, 9 saves. Union, Melissa McDonald, 0 saves; Cat Ruggiero, 5 saves.
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Categories: College Sports