Starting the second month of the season, women’s lacrosse dropped one game and picked up another in NESCAC conference play, culminating in a Little Three victory over Amherst. With the win, the Dirty Birds improved to 7-3, easily surpassing their 5-9 record last season. They also improve to a 3-2 record in the NESCAC.
On Sunday, the team traveled four and a half hours to play No. 20 Colby. The Cardinals and Mules exchanged pairs of early goals. Following that, however, the women were halted by the strong game in net by Izzy Scribano of the Mules. Scribano finished the game with nine saves on 19 shots. Some bright spots for Cardinals included maintaining an 11-8 advantage in draw control and another great showing by Abby Horst ’19 with two goals, increasing her season tally to 11.
“I don’t think we showed up like we usually do,” said defender Dana Mitchell ’18. “We couldn’t connect on passes or feeds in and we weren’t capitalizing off of good plays that we might have made. I don’t think that game is at all who we are as a team, but I also think that loss was necessary for us to realize the adjustments we need to make moving forward and we are stronger because of it.”
And realize those adjustments they did. In a Wednesday home game against rival Amherst, Wesleyan never trailed en route to a 9-4 victory. Liana Mathias ’17 started the scoring at the 13:59 mark with a goal off a pass-assist from Emma Richards ’20. Mathias whipped the stick behind her back past Amherst goalie Kyra Gardner to net her 12th goal of the year. Just 78 seconds later, Rachel Aronow ’17 joined in with her 13th goal this season. After two unassisted goals by Antonia Kaz ’19 and Emi Ogden-Fung ’19, and one by Amherst’s Claire Cagnassola during a player-up opportunity, the Cardinals took a 4-1 lead into halftime.
Goalie Grace McCann ’17 lead the defensive effort with seven saves on 16 shots.
“Grace had a dirty save at the end of the first half. She jumped over to stop what would have been an open-net goal,” said Taeo Carse ’17, an enthusiastic fan of the team.
Amherst never caught up. The Mammoths were able to cut into the lead with two early goals in the second half. Wesleyan shortly returned the favor with a rookie-duo goal by Richards off a beautiful pass from Julia Gretsky ’20. The Cardinals ended up tacking on four more goals. Amherst scored the final goal with :44 left to play, but it was far too little too late. In the end, the Cards celebrated with a 9-4 win.
“I thought the Amherst game was the best I’ve ever seen this team play,” Mitchell, smiling, said afterwards. “Of course, it wasn’t perfect, but we played with heart and hustle for a full 60 minutes, which is all you can ask for. At this point on any day it’s anyone’s game, so it really comes down to the little things. Yesterday, the second the ball hit the ground there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to be the ones coming up with it and that was on both sides of the field, which was really awesome to see.”
Wesleyan will look to bring their momentum with them to Williamstown, MA on Saturday, April 8, for a game at Williams with the chance to snag the Little Three crown on the line. That will be followed by a Tuesday game in Hartford against rival Trinity.
“I think we are in a really exciting point in our season,” Mitchell said. “From now on we have only NESCAC games, so not that they didn’t before, but every single day, whether it be practice or game, matters.”
The emphasis on practice is not to be diminished, despite how cliché of a saying it has become. Practicing purposefully and consistently is what will set the Cards apart in a crowded conference, where juggernauts like Trinity and Middlebury are consistently breathing down Wesleyan’s neck. Showing up every single day with an intent to improve, even if only by one or two percent, is what will lead the women’s team to the success it hopes and expects. All supporters of the women’s team, like Carse, will certainly be hoping that they do just that.