By George Tatoris
Before taking on the Montclair State University Red Hawks, the College’s women’s lacrosse team beat the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks, 9-2, Tuesday, April 5, and blew away the Eastern University Eagles, 15-0, on Thursday, April 7. The Lions had bird for supper three times last week.
Spring was nowhere to be found in Montclair, N.J., on Saturday, April 9. Sporadic bursts of rain and snow fell on the town from overhead, and beneath the gray sheet of cloud, the third-ranked Lions were playing the Red Hawks in their third match of the week.
“The weather was extremely odd, that was one of my first times playing lacrosse while it was snowing,” freshman midfielder Kathleen Jaeger said.
The Lions kept the Red Hawks at bay for the first half, ending the period with a three-point lead, but by the time the teams re-entered the stadium, Montclair was ready for a storm.
Temperatures dropped as the second half kicked off, bringing heavier snow. With it, the Red Hawks brought a hailstorm, outshooting the Lions, 7-5.
Montclair clawed at the College’s lead with a three-goal rush, but it wasn’t enough. The Lions held fast and won, 8-6.
“I think that as a team, we kept our composure throughout the game considering the weather,” sophomore attacker Emily Kratz said. “We knew what we had to do today to get the win and we weren’t going to let any weather condition take that away from us.”
Junior attacker Mia Blackman opened the scoring with two goals, each off a feed from senior attacker Cortney Natalicchio.
Just two minutes later, Natalicchio made a third assist by feeding the ball to graduate student attacker Erin Waller, bringing the score to 3-0 just 10 minutes into the game.
The Red Hawks opened the second half with by scoring, but were answered by three more Lions goals.
Natalicchio got a fourth assist in the second half after giving the ball to Jaeger for the goal.
“Montclair is a very skilled team, so coming into the game, we knew we had to make everything we did count,” Jaeger said.
After Montclair’s three-goal run, only two goals separated them from the Lions. At just over two minutes, it nearly became a one-goal game, but freshman goaltender Miranda Chrone made a key save on the Red Hawks’s free-position shot, securing the win.
“Montclair came out today ready for a tough game and I think that every ground ball, draw control, transition and shot we needed to work hard for,” Kratz said.
Kratz made a tide-turning goal against Stevens last Tuesday, April 4. The Ducks scored first just over three minutes into the contest.
Blackman and Natalicchio answered with a goal apiece, but the Ducks scored shortly after, tying it up at two.
One minute later, Kratz scooped up a ground ball and ran it to the net for a goal. Stevens would not score again in the entire game.
“I knew that I needed to take the best shot possible, so when I saw the space in the eight-meter, I capitalized on it,” Kratz said.
Sophomore defender Elizabeth Morrison played a major role in keeping the Ducks off the ball by causing six turnovers, picking up six ground balls and scoring a goal of her own.
It took another four days before another team scored on the Lions — the Eastern University Eagles didn’t get a single shot in on Thursday, April 7.
The Lions had a strong start against Eastern with four goals in less than three minutes. Waller made the fourth goal after a ground ball play from Morrison. The score was 10-0 by the end of the first period.
The strong start set up the Lions to dominate in a 15-0 blowout. Eight Lions contributed goals, including Jaeger and Kratz.
“I was happy to be able to contribute some points to a great team win,” Kratz said.
The Lions were able to control the game with strong connections in the midfield and the attack, allowing them to move the ball up the field quickly for a goal, according to Kratz.
Jaeger attributed the win to teamwork.
“We really worked together and were looking for each other instead of doing things by ourselves,” Jaeger said. “Both of my goals were scored of Erin Waller’s assists.”
After pushing all week, through three teams and unseasonable snow, Jaeger attributed the three wins to the hard work of her team.
“Whether it is every day at practice or in our games, the members of our team put forth every ounce of effort they have at that given moment towards our overall goals,” Jaeger said.