Sophomore tandem Liana Mathias and Meredith Smith tallied 41 points to lead women's lax to a 4-4 record

While most students were relaxing over the long, two-week spring break, the women’s lacrosse team was busy practicing and playing in many tightly contested games. They had many ups and downs during this five game stretch and ultimately finished 2-3.

“Our spring break trip was definitely a test for our season,” said Liana Mathias ’17. “Although we went 1-1, we came out with an incredibly positive attitude and strengthened team morale, and it was definitely a highlight of the season.”

The first home game of the year and opening contest of the recess came on Saturday, March 7, when the team played NESCAC squad Bates. In recent history, Wesleyan lost each of its last six encounters with the Bobcats, with its last victory against the women from Maine coming in 2008.

This time around, the Cardinals went down quickly, trailing 5-0 at the midway point of the first period, and 7-2 at halftime. The Birds were unable to make much headway and traded goals with their visitors for the first twenty minutes of the second half.

Things started to change when Meredith Smith ’17 and Mathias rattled off back-to-back goals. This narrowed the margin to 9-5 with 7:04 left on the clock. This, however, was the closest the Cards were going to get.

The tough Bobcats followed up with three goals of their own within a 39 second span. This expanded the Bates lead to 12-5 with six minutes left. Smith ended the scoring with her second goal of the game and sixth of the season at the 5:14 mark, making the final score 12-6 in favor of Bates. Mathias also chipped in with a pair of scores in the game. Wesleyan outshot its visitors 25-21, but the Bobcats’ goalie proved to be too tough with her eleven saves.

In its next outing against the out of conference St. Joseph’s College-Long Island, Wesleyan got its second win of the season. Wes went down quickly, 1-4 with 21:13 left in the first half. The Cards were able to turn this around with goals coming from Julia Black ’18, Becca Phillips ’17, Morgan Moubayed ’17, Mathias, and Smith, ending the half with a 6-5 lead.

The second half started off slow for the Cardinals and the Golden Eagles were able to score four fast goals to go up 9-6. Then, in a short ten-minute time span, the Cards were able to erase the deficit and go ahead 12-9 with nearly ten minutes left.

The Wesleyan takeover was sparked when Martha Harding ’16 netted the first of her two goals of the game. Harding’s goal was soon followed by two Rachel Aronow ’17 markers to knot the count at 9-9 with 17:32 to go. Mathias then put Wesleyan ahead for good at the 12:23 mark while finishing off her hat trick and Aronow and Smith padded the lead to three with 10:33 remaining.

Wesleyan played at home for its next game, hosting the Middlebury Panthers on Saturday, March 14. The Middlebury squad came in with a lot of confidence after a recent IWCA National Division III poll had them ranked ninth in the nation. This conviction showed as the Panthers took a quick, methodical 6-1 lead with 10:16 left in the first half. Wesleyan, however, started to fire back and brought the lead down to two goals, with scores coming from Mathias, Black, and Smith. The Panthers halted the Wesleyan momentum and were able to end the half with a two-to-zero run, making the score 8-4. Middlebury started the second half well, taking a decisive 14-5 lead. Three of the final four goals belonged to the Cards, making the end result 15-8 in favor of the Panthers. Smith was able to tie her all-time points in a game with six, scoring three goals along with three assists.

Next, the Cardinals took their talents to Colorado for the first time in the program’s history. Wesleyan lost one game and won the other.

They first played Colorado College in a close matchup, with the Tigers coming out on top 9-8. Smith and Mathias notably each had three points. The Cardinals fell down with 2:26 remaining, and could not recover to send the game into overtime.

Next, the Cards played Pomona-Pitzer and won a thrilling double-overtime game. Captain Leah Sherman ’15 had an unforgettable performance with six goals, the last one being the eventual game winner.

“We had a massive double overtime win against Pomona-Pitzer, which was extremely exciting,” Mathias said. “We suffered a tough loss against Colorado College, but overall the team was extremely happy with the outcome of our trip.”

The team returned from break to face its final non-conference foe of the 2015 campaign in Babson College. The Cardinals took a 6-2 lead into halftime over the Beavers, and the four-goal edge was enough as Wesleyan won the contest, 12-8. Harding and Sherman each contributed three tallies while Mathias had two and four other players scored once. Wesleyan outshot its opponent 24-19.

The Cardinals head into the meat of conference play with an overall record of 4-4 and an 0-3 performance in conference. This Saturday, March 28, the team will travel to Waterville, Maine to battle against Colby. The Mules are tied for first in the conference at 3-1 in NESCAC play and 8-1 overall, while the Cardinals sit tied for tenth, only one win away from the eighth and final playoff spot. Wesleyan has not beaten the Mules since 2007, by a score of 12-7, and the Cardinals have never traveled to Colby and left with a victory. The team will have its hands full this weekend as they look to keep getting better.

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