Comeback effort falls short, win streak ends at 17

The women’s lacrosse team lost 9-8 to sixth-ranked SUNY Cortland, snapping their 17-game winning streak that dated back to last season.

The top-ranked Lions fell to 2-1 for the season with a loss at SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex Sunday afternoon. This came on the heels of a 13-4 win against Ursinus Wednesday afternoon. The Lions’ last defeat also came at the hands of Cortland, who beat the defending national champions, 10-9, last season at Lion’s Stadium.

“I don’t think we played our game,” said head coach Sharon Pfluger. “Cortland is a good team; I wouldn’t take that away from them at all. I just don’t think we played our game.”

The Red Dragons ended the first half with a 3-2 lead. Cortland junior Jennifer Willis finished the match with three goals and one assist, as she scored her first goal 1:53 into the game. Goals by Lions sophomore Kate Neese and senior Lauren Dougher gave the Lions a short lead, 2-1. Cortland closed the half with scores by sophomore Beth Elmer and junior Ali Bourgal.

With about 15 minutes remaining in the match, Dougher went on a four-goal rampage in a three-minute span to tie the game at 6-6. Willis and Lions sophomore Karen Doane exchanged goals to make the score 7-7. Cortland regained the lead on Willis’s third score of the game, as she cut from the left side of the cage and beat the College’s senior goalie Megan Marquardt with a shot inside the left post.

Willis continued to assert herself against the Lions as she set up Bourgal for her second goal of the game to give the Red Dragons a 9-7 lead with 4:19 on the clock.

Sophomore Toni-Anne Cavallo won the ensuing draw for the Lions, and the ball eventually ended up in Dougher’s stick, who scored her sixth and final goal of the game on a strong individual effort to bring the Lions within one goal with 1:23 to play.

“She had a wonderful performance. She scored with five Cortland players on her, it’s just amazing,” said Pfluger. “Her shooting ability is phenomenal. She’s an outstanding player and one of the best lacrosse players we’ve had here.”

Bourgal gained possession of the next draw, but Dougher stripped the ball with a stick check and moved it down the field with less than a minute remaining. As the Lions pushed towards the arc, Cortland senior Erin Gallagher knocked down a pass and collected the ground ball with 45 seconds on the clock. The Red Dragons successfully cleared the ball and ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Marquardt stopped three shots on goal for the College while her counterpart, Cortland senior goalie Regina Grosso collected five saves, with four in the first half.

Against 15th-ranked and previously unbeaten Ursinus College, the Lions closed the half with a 6-0 lead and extended the lead to 13-0 before the Bears found the net in the second half with 12:31 left to play in the game. The Lions broke down Ursinus’ defense, which had previously yielded an average of 4.5 points a game.

The Bears’ senior midfielder Ashley Ettinger broke up the College’s shutout bid with her seventh goal of the year at 12:31 in the second half. Senior midfielder Erike Weir also added a goal and an assist for Ursinus.

The College got four goals from Doane, while Neese contributed three goals and an assist in the blowout victory. Dougher added two goals and an assist and leads the team with 14 goals and two assists in 2006.

Ursinus sophomore goalie Allyson Shicora made 12 saves but had 13 goals against.

Marquardt earned the win in net for the Lions after collecting two saves in 44:29 played with no goals allowed. She shared the victory with senior Paige Lucard, who made three saves in 15:31 of work with four goals against.

Women’s lacrosse action continues March 30 when the Lions host Gettysburg College at 7 p.m.