After a victory on Senior Day against Hamilton, women’s lacrosse went on the road, traveling all the way to eastern Connecticut. The team showed their dominance over the Conn College Camels with a 14-11 victory on Wednesday, April 25. With the win over their in-state NESCAC rival, the women ended their regular season with a 10-5 record and a 6-4 NESCAC mark, while the Camels’ season comes to an end with a 4-11 record and a 0-10 league ledger.
The game started with Wesleyan’s Abigail Horst ’19 finding the back of the net within just 11 seconds. 42 seconds later, fellow junior Caitlin Wood scored on a free position to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead.
After the Camels fought back with a goal, Horst and Wood scored back-to-back once again to go ahead 4-1 with 17:30 to play in the first. Just seven minutes later, the Red and Black notched their lead up two goals, while Conn College responded with another, heightening the score to 6-2 in the Cardinals’ favor. Yet the four-goal lead wasn’t enough for Wood, who went on to score her fourth goal of the half with 2:23 left to play. As the teams cleared the field for halftime, the Red Birds held an 8-5 lead.
Conn College began the half with a hot start and started to score on the Dirty Birds, getting within two once again. Then, Sydney Prokupek ’21 took advantage of a player-up opportunity to increase the visitors’ lead to five with just 14:06 remaining. While the Camels began to outscore the Cardinals 4-2 in the final 12:52, it was simply not enough as the scoreboard ran down to zero, claiming a Wes 14-11 win.
The Cardinals outshot the Camels 27-19, but committed 25 turnovers. They led in draw controls 18-9, and ten of these draw controls were won by Caroline Sgaglione ’19. Prokupek finished the game with two assists and one goal, and Emma Richards ’20 scored once and registered an assist. Defensively, Sgaglione also secured five ground balls and Allegra Grant ’20 stopped six shots.
With a 6-4 NESCAC mark, the Cardinals claimed the No. 5 seed in the NESCAC Tournament and went on to play No. 4 Bowdoin on Saturday, April 28.
Because Bowdoin, Wesleyan, and Trinity all finished with identical 6-4 records, each went 1-1 in head-to-head matchups, and held the same records against the top eight teams in the league. Names were pulled out of a hat to determine the seeds.
On April 28, Wesleyan traveled to Brunswick, Maine to face the Bowdoin Polar Bears (12-4, 6-4 NESCAC) in the first round of the NESCAC Championship. Unfortunately, the Cardinals were bested in the tight match, losing by 1 with a final score of 10-11.
Bowdoin stormed to an early 5-1 lead, but Wesleyan responded with a 4-run surge before the end of the half. Horst led the charge, scoring two goals to leave the half tied at 5-5.
The Polar Bears dove into the second half strong, taking an 11-6 lead with 16:21 to go in the game. Goalkeeper Allegra Grant ’20 performed well, making ten saves in the second half, and, along with a strong defensive effort, held Bowdoin to zero goals the rest of the game.
The Cardinals made another run with just 15 minutes to go, this time sparked by a pair of goals from Abby Manning ’20, cutting Bowdoin’s lead to three. Rylee White ’21 and Manning then scored once each to pull within one. Yet with 10:22 to go, the teams remained at a stalemate, neither able to find the back of the net before the buzzer notched the final score of 11-10.
Grant played solidly in the net, stopping an astounding 18 of the Polar Bears’ shots. Offensively, Manning led Wes with four goals and an assistant, while Sara Bennett ’18 snatched a pair of caused turnovers and Sgaglione managed four draw controls.
Bowdoin will travel to Middlebury to play in the NESCAC semifinals this weekend, while 14th-ranked Wesleyan anxiously awaits the NCAA’s decision to extend them an at-large bid to the national tournament. The selection show will air Sunday, May 6 at 10 p.m. on NCAA.com.
While the Cardinals hope to advance in the NCAA as their team fell short, the Red and Black already have individual success to celebrate. Horst and Sgaglione were named All-NESCAC First Team selections, while Grant was named All-NESCAC Second Team. The two first team selections are the most in program history, and the three total selections tied a program record achieved also in 2007 and 2009.
Kevin Le can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owen Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com.