The St. Lawrence University women's lacrosse team took on nationally-ranked No. 18 Rensselaer for the 2013 Liberty League Championship on Saturday in Troy, NY. Though the Saints were able to keep pace early, the Engineers used a fast-paced offense and a brilliant performance by goaltender Allie Arnal en route to a 14-5 win and the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Rensselaer (14-3) was led by Rachel Scofield's seven point game (4g,3a) and Jamie Wakefield's hat trick, while Arnal piled up 12 saves to keep St. Lawrence (12-6) from gaining any momentum. The Engineers closed with a 27-21 lead in shots and won the draw control battle, 14-7.
"We're disappointed that we didn't win, but I give a ton of credit to RPI and Allie (Arnal), who is an outstanding goaltender," said St. Lawrence head coach Jodi Canfield. "I'm proud of the way we competed all season. We found ourselves in a ‘track meet' early and we simply couldn't sustain any momentum. I thought the team that won more draw controls today would win, and that proved to be the case."
St. Lawrence senior co-captain Brigid Hurley had a team-high two goals for the Saints, finishing with 61 on the season. Co-captains Stephanie O'Rourke and Joey Kelley and sophomore Mackenzie Collins also each scored a goal, while junior Carly VanTassel had a pair of assists.
Rensselaer's Lauren Miller and O'Rourke exchanged goals for a 1-1 score before the home team rattled off three straight for a 4-1 lead at the midway point of the opening half. Jamie Wakefield, Michelle Denny and Scofield gave RPI momentum, but the Saints would answer with back-to-back goals from Collins and Hurley only :20 seconds apart to pull back to within a goal at 4-3 with 7:30 to play in the first.
However, Wakefield and Scofield would combine for three goals in the final 6:50 of the half for a 7-3 advantage at intermission. The back-breaker came with only :17 seconds left, as Scofield's 31st of the year came on a man-up try with an assist going to Shannon Maguire.
That run before intermission would propel RPI to the Liberty League title, as the Engineers opened the second half on a five-goal run to put the game out of reach, 12-3. Hurley and Kelley would score down the stretch for the Saints, while Scofield and Wakefield continued to thrive for the 14-5 win.
St. Lawrence was called for the only four yellow cards in the game, while sophomore Adden Cunningham suffered the loss in net after making four saves. Rookie Greta White made one save in relief in the final 9:07 of regulation.
Rensselaer will represent the Liberty League in the NCAA Tournament, and will learn their opponent this week. Saturday's game was the last for the St. Lawrence seniors, including Hurley, Kelley, O'Rourke, Holly Noyes and Blythe Crasto.