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Siena women's lacrosse wins home opener

Siena women's lacrosse wins home opener

Saints top Columbia
Siena women's lacrosse wins home opener
Siena defeated Columbia Saturday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

LOUDONVILLE — Just like it had in its season-opening game, the Siena women’s lacrosse squad pulled ahead early in Saturday’s second half to take a one-goal lead.

What followed in the Saints’ opener was a long run for their opponent.

What followed in Saturday’s home opener was a surge from the Saints, who evened their record on the season with a 14-11 win against Columbia at Hickey Field.

“We just learned that we have to play a full game — a full 60 minutes,” Siena sophomore Mary Soures said of the lesson the Saints took from their 18-8 loss Tuesday at Brown. “Every minute counts.”

“Obviously, last game, we didn’t play a complete game,” Siena head coach Abby Rehfuss said. “That was something that we really talked about coming into today, is how it’s really important to play the full 60 minutes.”

Siena did that against Columbia after failing to do that at Brown. In both games, Siena took an 8-7 lead within the opening 12 minutes of the second half. At Brown, the Saints never scored again, as they fell 18-8.

Against Columbia, Siena moved ahead 8-7 with 20:48 to play, then added two more goals in the next 1:15. From there, Siena maintained at least a two-goal lead in a game that saw Soures lead the way with five goals.

Besides Soures’ high-scoring effort, Siena received three goals and an assist from junior Kerry Gerety, a goal and four assists from junior Nicole McNeely, two goals and two assists from senior Annie Brennan and two goals and an assist from redshirt sophomore Kaitlyn Dowsett.

As a team, Siena had assists on nine of its 14 goals after only recording one assist in its opener.

“Just thought we were moving the ball a lot better and we were sharing it a lot,” Rehfuss said.

“We did a really good job of playing together,” Siena senior Therese Pitman said.

Siena (1-1) is coming off a 2019 season in which it fell in the MAAC tournament final to Fairfield, a squad that Columbia (0-3) lost 13-6 to in its previous game. Columbia is coached by Andrea Cofrin, who guided the Saints for a five-season tenure that closed following the 2013 season.

After its season-opening loss, Pitman said the Saints worked to make sure their home opener would end in different fashion.

“We took a step back and we looked at our mistakes on film, and we came out here the second time knowing we have to win possession and we have to make those little adjustments — and I think we did,” Pitman said.

A top priority, Pitman said, was making sure the Saints did a better job with draw controls. Against Brown, Siena won 10 of 28 draw controls, while the Saints won 13 of 27 against Columbia.

“We really worked hard on the draw controls, had possession and took advantage,” Pitman said.

“We’re showing what we’re capable of,” Soures said.

While the Saints wanted to produce a better showing in their second outing, Rehfuss said the team’s opener contained more good than bad, despite the final score. She made sure her team knew that, too.

“I don’t think the box score was an accurate reflection of how that game went,” Rehfuss said. “I think we let it slip away in those last 10 minutes or so, but we played a good 40, 45 minutes of that game. We [had] a lot of positives.

“We learned from the mistakes that we made, but I think we also were more emphasizing the good things that we did do [at] Brown, and making sure that we could bottle that up and bring that into today.”

Off a winning effort, the Saints next play Wednesday vs. Holy Cross.

“I think it’s just going to carry us into our next game,” Pitman said of the Saints’ momentum after a solid home win, “and we’re going to play just as well.”

Columbia 5 6 — 11

Siena 5 9 — 14

Columbia scoring: Lutz 2-0, Witteck 1-1, Absey 2-0, Madigan 2-0, Stuzin 2-0, Quinn 1-0, Kelly 0-1, Graff 1-0. Siena scoring: Soures 5-0, McNeely 1-4, Gerety 3-1, Brennan 2-2, Dowsett 2-1, Pelcher 1-0, Nieman 0-1. Goalies: Columbia, Schlageter, 8 saves; Siena, Mervine, 6 saves.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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