This weekend may be one that the St. Lawrence University women's lacrosse team's Class of 2013 won't forget. The Saints earned a Liberty League weekend sweep on Saturday afternoon behind an 11-10 win over Union College at Hall-Leet Stadium as the team celebrated its "Senior Day."
Senior co-captain Brigid Hurley sparked the offense with a six-goal game, while fellow classmate Stephanie O'Rourke added two goals and an assist in the win which came on the heels of an 8-7 victory over William Smith on Friday.
St. Lawrence, now 9-5 (5-2), never trailed the entire weekend and once again finished with leads in shots (30-29) and ground balls (25-23). Union (5-4, 3-2), which was led by Emily McGrail's four goals, held the Saints to a 9-for-17 mark in clears, but was only 4-of-17 on free-position shots in the contest.
"That was truly a physical game between two evenly-matched teams," said St. Lawrence head coach Jodi Canfield. "We were able to overcome our mistakes and I thought our seniors delivered for us when we need them most."
For the second consecutive game, the Saints went into halftime deadlocked, this time at 6-6. Hurley wasted little time in making her presence felt, scoring a hat trick only 4:41 into regulation for a 3-1 St. Lawrence lead. After Heather Fraser and McGrail answered for Union to tie the score, Hurley added her fourth for a 4-3 cushion with 16:29 to play in the opening period.
Junior Carly VanTassel, who scored the game-winner against William Smith made it 5-3, but that lead was erased by McGrail with back-to-back goals only :20 seconds apart to tie the game at 5-5. St. Lawrence's Michaela Maybee and Union's Micaela DeSimone capped the first half scoring to send the teams to the locker room at 6-6.
Maybee again exchanged goals :40 seconds apart with Tory Cameron to bring the game to 7-7 before O'Rourke fired a highlight-reel laser past Union goalie Kim Grinhaus and just under the cross bar for an 8-7 advantage 1:54 into the second period. O'Rourke then added an unassisted tally for a 9-7 lead at 6:20, while Hurley gave the home team its largest lead at 10-7 only seconds :17 seconds later.
Union would claw back into the game with goals by McGrail and Ciara Dudeck, pulling within one at 10-9 with 17:26 to play. However, St. Lawrence goaltender Adden Cunningham, who didn't register a save in the first half, delivered several key stops on multiple free-position attempts to keep her team ahead. The Dutchwomen also sent several free-position bids wide, keeping them behind in the later stages of the game.
Hurley would cap the St. Lawrence scoring with 7:00 minutes remaining, adding her 49th of the season for an 11-9 lead. Union would have multiple chances to draw closer, but couldn't until Brittany Fraser's free position shot bounced past Cunningham with 2:23 to play.
The Saints appeared to have the victory locked up with possession and under 1:00 minute to play in regulation. However, a turnover along the sideline gave Union life as they cleared the ball successfully into the offensive zone. After trying to go to the net twice, Heather Fraser was awarded a free-position to Cunningham's right with 1.9 seconds remaining. As the whistle blew, Fraser pump-faked then fired, but her shot was turned away by the Saints' netminder, securing the dramatic 11-10 conference victory.
Grinhaus closed with 11 saves, while Cunningham made six, all in the second half. The Dutchwomen also closed with a sound 15-8 edge in draw controls. Senior co-captain Joey Kelley had a team-high three caused turnovers for the Scarlet and Brown, while co-captain Holly Noyes had a team-best four draw controls.
Prior to the game, St. Lawrence honored Hurley, Noyes, O'Rourke, Kelley and Blythe Crasto for their contributions to the women's lacrosse program over the past four years.
St. Lawrence will have next weekend off before closing out the 2013 regular season in Rochester, NY with Liberty League contests against RIT and Rochester. Union will host Middlebury College in Schenectady, NY on Tuesday, April 16 at 5:30pm.