For women’s lacrosse, the season is coming to a fast close and the NESCAC standings are becoming more and more solidified as the number of conference matches dwindles. Heading into the final game, Wesleyan was buddied up at the bottom of the ladder with Conn College after weeks of challenging matchups and nail-biting losses. After beating Conn College, Wes has a current overall record of 5-9 and is 2-8 in the NESCAC, while Conn sits at 5-9 with a 1-9 conference record.
This past Saturday, the team went up against Tufts on home turf for Senior Day, celebrating graduating players Emily Gretsky, Martha Harding, Nina Labovich, and Abby Reed. The Jumbos are currently ranked sixth in the NESCAC with a star studded roster. Despite the stats, the Cards took the field ready for action and a battle in honor of their seniors. The game closely mirrored the anxiety-riddled back-and-forth game against Bowdoin.
The first half started with a free position score at 28:23 from Liana Mathias ’17, electrifying the Cardinal bench. Tufts players Dakota Adamec and Caroline Ross, one of the leading scorers in the NESCAC, tallied up two goals for the Jumbos before Mathias answered back to tie the game at 2-2 with 15:39 left in the half. The tie didn’t last for long as Jumbos’ Cecily Freliech and Adamec snuck a pair of shots into the back of the Cardinal net within 24 seconds of each other.
The Cards didn’t stay quiet for long. Julia Black ’18 sniped one in unassisted at 12:03 and then got the assist from Rachel Aronow ’17, who had juked out a Tufts’ defender to drive the ball toward the net. The game was tied right back up again at 4-4 with 11:15 to play. Tufts dominated the next few minutes, scoring three times in a row with shots from Jenn Duffy, Annie Sullivan, and Ross. The scoreboard blinked a solid 7-4 lead for the Jumbos, but the Cards weren’t going to leave the half down by three. With four minutes left, Becca Phillips ’17 rocketed an unassisted goal past the Tufts goalie. The scoreboard froze at 7-5 for the rest of the half as the clock wound down and the buzzer sent the teams back to their benches for halftime.
The second half picked up speed as the teams traded off goals. Adamec had a free position shot at 28:05. Aronow followed up with her own free position shot at 27:05 to bring the score to 8-6, with the Jumbos still in the lead. Caroline Nowak of Tufts snuck an unassisted goal past Labovich at 26:29. Aronow then answered for a second time 17 seconds later when the Cards had a player-up advantage, putting the score at 9-7 with Wes still trailing. Jumbo Kate Mackin scored a free position shot at 17:08 and Aronow fired back again at 16:14 for her third goal of the game. Mathias picked up Aronow’s momentum and snagged an unassisted goal at 13:02, bringing Tufts’ lead to one goal, 10-9. A prominent offensive figure in the game, Adamec piped up again with a goal at 4:49, pushing the Jumbos ahead 11-9 with only minutes left on the clock. In a last effort to push Wes ahead, Gretsky fired one in with a free position shot at 2:47. The next three minutes had each bench screaming and every audience members’ heart racing, but Tufts found a way to widen the lead with two goals in the last minute. Adamec scored her fourth and fifth goals of the game at 0:53 and 0:40, securing the 13-10 victory for the Jumbos over the Cards. Adamec’s performance earned her NESCAC Player of the Week honors.
Recovering from the sting of a close loss, Wesleyan was back on the field on Wednesday, April 27, for its final game against Conn College. This game had an entirely different story. Wes gave the Camels absolute chaos, ending the season with a stunning blowout of 17-7.
The Cards experienced their typical see-saw of scores in the first half, starting with Aronow’s unassisted goal at 28:53. Black followed with another unassisted goal at 25:46. The camels echoed the goals, tying the game at 20:37. Mathias copied her teammates, snagging an unassisted goal at 16:05, only to have the game tied up again at 15:29. The game went scoreless for a solid seven minutes until Abigail Horst ’19 broke the ice with an unassisted goal at 7:20. The Camels tied it up again a minute later. Aronow sniped one in at 3:43, Conn answered, and Aronow launched one right back with two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the half. The first half ended with Wes in the lead 6-5, as the teams seemed to be neck and neck.
The tides shifted at the start of the second and the Cards found their footing. Within the first 10 minutes, the Cards rocketed seven shots past the Camels’ goalie. Aronow, Meredith Smith ’17, Harding, Mathias, and Black all scored, bringing Wes ahead 13-5 and silencing the Camels. Conn didn’t have a response until 13:16 when Lacey Hale had an unassisted goal. The Cards were not satisfied and Mathias, Smith, and Caitlin Wood ’19 stole four more goals in the final five minutes of the game. Conn had one final push with a score at 0:13 to shorten the lead and end the game at 17-7.
The win against Conn College pushed the Cards up to eighth place, alongside Bowdoin and Williams with a 2-8 conference record for the season. Williams won the number eight seed for the NESCAC tournament taking place this upcoming weekend, unfortunately leaving the Cards without a spot, despite beating Williams head-to-head. Aronow, a valuable and leading goal scorer for the Cards, had mixed feelings after a huge win against the Camels didn’t ensure the team qualification for NESCACs.
“I would say that it’s been an incredible season and this team has come so far this year,” she said. “It’s been a blast to play on such a high-energy team that never gives up, and to have the opportunity to compete to make the NESCAC tournament this year. It’s crushing that missing out on playoffs came down to a coin toss, especially because we’ve seen so much improvement from each game to the next. But it’s been such an amazing experience playing with this team, and especially with our incredibly dedicated and selfless senior class.”
The season may be coming to a close for the seniors, but the Wesleyan women’s lacrosse program is a dynamite team in the making. The seniors have left an impactful legacy on the underclassmen. Labovich is leaving big shoes to fill; she ended the season as the goalie with the most saves in the entire NESCAC. With new recruits, now experienced first-years, and a talented rising senior class, the Cards will be looking at a promising 2017 season.