PORTLAND, ME – Saint Joseph's (6-3, 3-0 GNAC) edged Rivier University (3-3, 1-2 GNAC), 13-12, in an action-packed Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's lacrosse contest at Deering Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
Saint Joseph's, seeking the team's third-straight GNAC victory and first over the Raiders since 2010, held a 7-2 lead after scoring five unanswered goals, the last of which coming off the crosse of junior Cassie Diplock (Augusta, Maine) at the 7:35 mark of the first half.
Rivier, which defeated the Monks by a 20-19 score in overtime last season, was not about to go down easily. The Raiders responded with three markers, two from Rebecca Wickens (Tyngsboro, Mass.) and another from Savannah Neuwirt (Newbury, N.H.), while keeping the hosts off the board in the closing seven minutes of the first period, cutting the SJC cushion down to 7-5 going into the break.
The Monks jumped out of the gates with scores from Macy Pagurko (Augusta, Maine) and Anneka Adame (San Diego, Calif.) in the first six minutes of the second stanza to capture a 9-5 lead. But the Raiders had other ideas, as the visitors went on to net five of the game's following six goals and tied the game at 10-apiece when Jessica Amaral (E. Providence, R.I.) beat Monks netminder Haley Nason (Saco, Maine) with a shot at the 14:58 mark. Vanessa Viola (Nashua, N.H.) was credited with an assist on the tying tally.
The conference counterparts proceeded to swap scores, as Victoria Tennenbaum (Brunswick, Maine) scored off a Lizzie Calnan (Westport, Mass.) feed at the 11:21 mark and Wickens managed to knot the game at 11-all with her third marker of the night 37 seconds later.
Every play was magnified, for better or worse, in the final 10 minutes and sophomore Kirsten McCombs (Lewiston, Maine) showed her resolve by scoring a go-ahead goal off a free-position shot at the 9:48 mark. She actually recorded two attempts, as her first bid – a hopper that found the back of the cage - was whistled off due to movement to the right of the keeper, but she managed to beat Rivier goalie Danielle Moran (San Diego, Calif.) with the exact same shot to lift St. Joe's to an 11-10 edge.
After nearly seven minutes of scoreless play, Diplock proceeded to pot the game-winner, a man-up marker, at the 2:53 mark. Raiders senior Lauren Brett (Otisfield, Maine) made things interesting with an unassisted goal 1:07 later, but the Monks managed to control play for the remainder of the contest en route to a thrilling 13-11 victory.
For the Monks, Adame tallied five goals, four draw controls and four caused turnovers, Diplock scored four times, Emma Lafrance (Westport, Mass.) collected nine ground balls with three caused turnovers and Rachelle Messuri (Atkinson, N.H.) added nine ground balls and four caused turnovers.
Nason was solid in net, with seven saves – including several at close range – over 60 minutes between the pipes.
For the Raiders, Wickens, Brett and Amaral netted three goals apiece and Viola picked up eight ground balls and eight draw controls in a losing effort. Moran made 10 saves in goal for the visitors.
Saint Joseph's travels to Simmons College for an 11:00 PM start on Saturday while RIvier is off until Tuesday when the Raiders host Fitchburg State University at 7:00 PM.