After losing back-to-back games over the past week against fellow NESCAC foes, the women’s lacrosse team was looking for a victory over Little Three rival Williams. Wes saw little success in the past with a poor women’s lacrosse history against Williams, as the last win came four years ago. History didn’t faze the Cards, as just last week the team confidently told The Argus that a win against the Ephs was inevitable. Not surprisingly, Wes topped Williams this past Saturday in dramatic fashion. Perhaps more amazingly, the game came down to the final twenty seconds of play.
Rachel Aronow ’17 and Breanna Cavanaugh ’19 started the Cards off strong, each throwing in an unassisted goal to put Wes ahead 2-0. Williams quickly followed with two goals to tie the score up at 2-2. Sara Bennett ’18 then snuck a pass to Liana Mathias ’17, and just like that, the Redbirds were up 3-2. The Cards’ lead didn’t last long as Williams dominated the remainder of the first half, scoring five unanswered goals. Wesleyan went into the second half of the game with a 7-3 deficit.
The four-point gap didn’t slow Wes down. Familiar scorers like Aronow and Mathias rallied back to pull the score to 7-5. The Ephs answered with another goal, pushing ahead 8-5. Just when a win began to seem unattainable, Mathias, Julia Black ’18, and Meredith Smith ’17 went on a hot streak of scoring to eventually tie the game with 15:35 on the clock. The game went scoreless for another seven minutes until Williams rocketed one into the net at 7:47 to earn the lead, 9-8. An obvious force on the field, Mathias pulled the team back into the contest, tying the game at 9-9 with 3:37 left. This time, it was Wes that took the upper hand, with first-year Antonia Kaz cutting through in front of goal, receiving a dime from Smith, and placing the ball in the back of the net with just 17 seconds remaining. The game-winning goal, combined with a few final second saves from goalie Nina Labovich ’16, sealed the deal for Wesleyan’s victory. When the dust settled, the Cards walked away with a monumental 10-9 win over the Ephs.
Labovich made nine saves throughout the contest on eighteen shots, and the team picked up 13 ground balls, while Williams only grabbed eight. Mathias led the Redbirds with four goals and one assist, while Aronow chipped in with two scores and a helper.
Unfortunately, the momentum gained from this nail biter of a game did not last through this past Tuesday, when the Cards faced another NESCAC rival, Trinity. The Bantams are currently ranked No. 7 nationally and have a 10-2 overall record for the 2016 season. It was not an easy matchup, but the Redbirds fought relentlessly. Despite the efforts of the Red and Black, Trinity’s offensive firepower carried them to a 12-4 victory.
Trinity went up 3-0 to start the first half until Smith broke their streak with a goal at 18:44. The Bantams responded with five consecutive goals to end the first half with an 8-1 lead. Smith got right to business at the beginning of the second half, dropping one into the back of the net at 27:13 to close the gap to six, 8-2. Trinity then scored another two goals, pushing back ahead by eight, 10-2. Still battling, Black swung a pass to Martha Harding ’16, who scored on the opportunity, bringing the score to 10-3. Aronow then gave the assist to Black for the Cards’ fourth and last goal of the night, putting the final score at 12-4.
The Wesleyan goaltender made six saves against the Bantams on 17 shots. Smith was the only multi-goal scorer for the Cardinals at two, and as a team, Wesleyan created 17 shots, one less than Trinity’s 18.
After netting a goal against Williams, Cavanaugh commented on her team, as well as the ups and downs of the season thus far.
“I would say that as a freshman, this team is unlike any other team I have been a part of,” she said. “I have been playing since I was in fifth grade and have been on four other teams since then but nothing compares to Wes lax. We are all just so dedicated, striving to improve. We have a great group of senior captains that would do anything for us and are always keeping us organized and positive. We have made tremendous progress as a team and are only going to get better from here. It’s been a really exciting process and I am so proud to be a part of this team. Moving forward, the goal is to win. Win, win, win.”
Despite a tough loss against Trinity, Cavanaugh’s contribution to the Williams game has stayed at the forefront of her mind.
“The best memory so far was beating Williams 10-9 with seventeen seconds left. The whole game, our energy was crazy, especially the sideline celebrations, which you should definitely check out because they are the best in the CAC, and were LIT.”
Sideline celebrations will be underway this Saturday, April 16, as the Cardinals take the hike up to Brunswick, ME. Bowdoin is currently ranked last in the NESCAC with a 1-7 record. Wes hopes to travel back home with a hefty tally of goals.