MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The third-seeded Wesleyan University women's lacrosse team came out strong, scoring three unanswered goals in the first three minutes, and eventually defeated the sixth-seeded Colby Mules in the NESCAC Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Smith Field, 14-12.
The Cardinals, ranked No. 7 nationally, were led by Caitlin Wood's four goals as they improved to 14-2 overall. They advance to the NESCAC Semifinals for the first time in program history and will play the No. 2 seed, Tufts, next Saturday, May 4 at 3 p.m. at top-seeded Middlebury. The Championship game is scheduled for Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m. No. 14 nationally-ranked Colby was led by Robyn Pirie who tallied a game-high five points on four goals and one assist but the Mules fell to 9-6 and await their NCAA Tournament fate.
- Wesleyan scored just 42 seconds into the game as Abby Manning found the top right corner. Just under two minutes later, Johanna Copeland increased the lead to two and Sydney Prokupek scored 36 seconds after to give the Cardinals an early 3-0 lead.
- Back-to-back goals by the Mules cut the deficit to one with 21:34 on the clock as Taylor Moore scored on a player-up opportunity.
- Abigail Horst increased the Wesleyan lead to two at the 16:23 mark and just 35 seconds later, she scored on a free position shot as the home team regained a three-goal advantage.
- Shortly after, in a three-minute span, the two teams combined for five goals as Horst capped off the high scoring run with her 100th career goal to give the home team a 7-5 lead.
- After a goal from Pirie at the 8:25 mark, back-to-back scores from Wood gave Wesleyan a 9-6 halftime advantage.
- Colby came out strong to start the second half, going on a 3-1 run in the opening six minutes. With 23:23 on the clock, Emma Banks threw one into the bottom right corner to cut the deficit to one.
- The Mules held Wesleyan scoreless for nearly 13 minutes, and trailed by one for just under 11 minutes, but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities and the Cardinals eventually put the game away.
- At the 12:40 mark, Kat Cucullo snapped Wesleyan's scoreless streak and four minutes later, Wood rifled in her third free position goal and fourth overall as the home team went ahead, 12-9.
- Grace Langmuir cut the deficit to two at the 7:57 mark, but Cucullo responded just 32 seconds later to regain a three-goal advantage.
- The teams would exchange goals in the final 10 minutes of action and after a free position goal by Pirie with 1:09 to go, Horst won the ensuing draw and Wesleyan was able to run out the clock.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Cucullo and Horst each scored three goals, while Prokupek dished out three assists and scored one of her own. Copeland scored twice and Manning added one. Manning led all players with nine draw controls, Tucker recorded a game-high four ground balls, and Horst led the team with two caused turnovers.
- Emma Banks, Langmuir, and Grace Toner all scored twice for the Mules, and Bridget Horwood recorded two assists. Melinda Edie and Sarah Stark recorded three ground balls each, while Edie led the team with two caused turnovers.
- Wesleyan outshot Colby 28-24. Both teams shot 50% on free position shots, with the Cardinals going 7-of-14 and the Mules finishing 5-of-10.
- Horst is just the sixth player in program history to reach the 100-career goal mark and joins teammate Abby Manning who reached the feat earlier this season. Horst is currently tied for 12th on the program's all-time scoring list with 108 career points, and Manning is tied for third with 146.