MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – For the second year in a row, the Wesleyan women's lacrosse team is moving on to the Third Round of the NCAA Championships as the eighth-ranked Cardinals used a second half rally to defeat No. 9 Mary Washington on a cold, rainy Sunday at Smith Field, 11-6.
Wesleyan, ahead by one with 25:15 to play in regulation, went on a 5-0 run beginning at the 16:49 mark and ending with 5:22 on the clock, which essentially put the game away. Abby Manning led the Cardinals with three goals and two assists, while Julia Gretsky scored three times and assisted on another. With the win, Wesleyan improved to 15-3 overall and advanced to the regional round of the tournament where it will play No. 2 Washington & Lee on Saturday, May 18 at the host school, top-ranked Gettysburg. Julia Albert scored four points (3 G, 1 A) for Mary Washington as its season ends with a 16-5 mark.
- The Eagles scored the first goal of the game, just 1:23 into play, as Albert found Hope Lockwood for the score.
- Wesleyan answered with a 4-0 run led by Manning, who scored twice and assisted on another. The junior put the Cardinals on top 2-1 when she caught the ball in front of the net with her back facing the goal, and sent a sideways, backward shot past the goalkeeper. Gretsky capped off the run at the 22:33 mark as the home team scored four goals in less than four minutes.
- With 15:56 on the clock, Mackenzie Maguire ran straight at the net and rifled in a shot towards the upper left corner to cut the deficit to two.
- The teams exchanged the final four goals and a score by Manning at the 1:30 mark proved to be the final one of the half, giving the Cardinals a 6-3 lead at the break. Manning scored all of her points in the first 30 minutes of action.
- Mary Washington came out strong to start the second half. At the 28:13 mark, Albert dropped the ball in front of the net but quickly recovered and fired a shot into the goal, as the goalie was caught out of position trying to pick up the loose ball.
- Allison Davis got the visitors within one three minutes later, and the Eagles controlled the tempo for most of the early minutes. They had several free position shots as well, but Allegra Grant was terrific in net for Wesleyan, as she made several incredible saves to maintain Wesleyan's lead.
- With 16:49 to go, the momentum swung in the other direction as Gretsky sent a shot above the goalkeeper's head into the back of the net. Just 40 seconds later, she scored again to increase Wesleyan's lead to three.
- The Cardinals would score three more unanswered goals from Sydney Prokupek, Abigail Horst, and Johanna Copeland to go ahead 11-5 with 5:22 to play.
- Mary Washington ended its scoreless drought at the 2:45 mark, but the Eagles would not score again as Wesleyan prevailed by five.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- In addition to Manning's and Gretsky's multi-point performances, Copeland also finished with two goals and one assist, while Caitlin Wood added a goal as well. Horst had a team-high four draw controls and Jordan Ansell was excellent on defense, causing four turnovers and picking up four ground balls. Grant made six spectacular saves in net.
- Paige Haskins led all players with five ground balls, while also causing two turnovers for the Eagles. Paige Childers and Jennifer Bosserman caused two turnovers as well, and Bosserman, Hanna Ashby, and Samantha Stachowiak each recorded three ground balls. Ashby also stopped six shots in net.
- Both teams were excellent on defense and caused 11 turnovers each. The Cardinals held a 24-16 edge in shots and a slight 10-8 advantage in draw controls.
HEAD COACH KIM WILLIAMS:
- "We are beyond excited to advance to the Sweet 16 next weekend after a big win against a tough Mary Washington team. I'm so proud of the team's resilience today in some tough conditions. It was a sloppy game, but we came through when we needed it most, led by two big goals by Julia Gretsky in the second half. This team is not done yet and we can't wait for another challenge next weekend."