After a 13-5 loss at the hands of a talented Williams squad on Saturday, April 5, the Wesleyan women’s lacrosse team attempted to win its NESCAC contest with a home game against Trinity on Tuesday, April 8.
Trinity, with an eighth-place ranking in Division III and a 5-1 record in the NESCAC, posed another tough challenge for the Cards. Sitting in last place in the conference, the Cardinals face must-win games throughout the rest of their regular season if they want to have a shot at the conference playoffs. They were not able to earn a win in the game, though, falling 9-3 to the Bantams.
Trinity came out of the gate with intensity, scoring the first four goals of the game. Two of the four goals came with one-man advantages, as the Cardinals were assessed two yellow cards in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Cardinals got on the board with 50 seconds left in the first half when Morgan Moubayed ’17 caught a centering pass from Meredith Smith ’17 and fired her fourth goal of the season.
However, Wesleyan was not able to contain the Trinity offensive attack as the Bantams opened up the second half with four more goals in the first 10 minutes to make the score 8-1. Captain Abby D’Angelo ’14 stopped the bleeding with her fourth goal of the season at the 17:49 mark. After another Trinity goal, Abby Wheeler ’17 netted her 10th goal of the season with about a minute remaining in the game, rounding out the score to 9-3 with the final goal of the game. Both D’Angelo and Wheeler were able to slash through the middle of the Bantam defense and score in traffic, with Wheeler using her height to reach above Bantam defenders.
Defender Emily Gretsky ’16 forced a turnover and picked up three groundballs in the game to bring her season total up to 22, the second highest on the team. Meghan Kelly ’17 picked up two groundballs, giving the freshman a team-high 25 on the season. Wesleyan’s top two goal-scorers, Smith and Captain Madeline Coulter ’14, were both held scoreless in the game.
“Defensively, the Cardinal game plan was to turn up the pressure on ball and come up with some big turnovers,” Gretsky said.
Though they were able to force 16 turnovers, the Cardinals were not able to clear the ball well, going 8 for 16 on clears. Trinity, on the other hand, was 11 for 11. Playing defense for much of the game, the Cardinals were outshot 9-1 in the first half and 18-8 in the game. This put plenty of pressure on the defense, as well as the goaltender, Nina Labovich ’16.
“I thought we played a good defensive game,” Gretsky said. “But we struggled to clear the ball and we weren’t able to capitalize on Trinity’s mistakes.”
The Cardinals were also unable to convert on four key free-position shots throughout the course of the game and struggled on draws, controlling three versus Trinity’s 11. Hannah Plappert ’16 controlled all three of Wesleyan’s draws in the game.
After the loss to Trinity, Wesleyan’s overall record moved to 5-7, but all seven of its losses have come within the NESCAC, leaving the team with a 0-7 conference record. With each conference loss, Wesleyan’s chances at making the NESCAC playoffs dwindle.
The Cardinals must win their final three games of the season against Bowdoin, Tufts, and Conn College to have a shot at making the playoffs. Wesleyan will look to get its first NESCAC victory with a road contest at Bowdoin, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot with a record of 3-5, on Saturday, April 12.