Lacrosse captures best start in program history

Gators come back from six-point deficit against Wooster in second half

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The women’s lacrosse team is off to a 10-0 start this season, their best in the program’s history. In their most recent victory at Wooster Tuesday night, the Gators came back from an 8-2 deficit in the second half to top the Fighting Scots by a final score of 13-11.

The win against Wooster marks only the second Gator defeat of the Scots in Allegheny lacrosse history, and is their first win against the Scots since 2011.

Senior Kelly Dickson, who finished the game with four goals, believes the team remained confident in their ability to win from start to finish.

“I don’t think that anyone on the team, whether on the field or sidelines, ever doubted that we were going to come back and win the game,” said Dickson. “We got caught not playing our game during the entire first half and even a bit of the second, but we eventually turned it around. We made adjustments and got back to doing the little things.”

Wooster opened up with a strong start on the offensive end, tallying three goals before Kelsey Rodgers, ’15, scored the Gators’ first goal with 17:53 remaining in the half. Following back-to-back goals by the Scots, Rodgers scored once more off of an assist from McKenzie Bell, ’16, making the score 5-2 with 7:56 left in the first half.

The Scots were not done scoring in the first half, as they would add another goal with 6:53 remaining.

“At halftime, we spoke about how we just need to get back to doing the little things we are successful at every day in practice,” said Head Coach Ashley Hughes.

Senior Carly Minsterman echoed Hughes’ sentiments regarding the team’s attitude.

“Even when we were losing during the game, we never let our heads get down,” said Minsterman. “At halftime, our coaches reminded us that we still had an entire thirty minutes of lacrosse to play and that the game was far from over.  This sparked our intensity in the second half which led to us taking the lead and grabbing our second conference win.  Even when we were down 8-2, there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to win.”

Following the half, Wooster’s Eliza Perry tallied another two goals for the Scots, leaving the Gators behind by six just shy of three minutes into the second period. Rodgers answered with her third goal of the night, but Wooster would respond with another goal, leaving the score at 9-3 with 24:04 remaining.

The Gators kicked off their comeback with three goals in three minutes, including two from Dickson and one from Alyssa Rapelje, ’16. A Gator penalty would lead to another Wooster score, but Allegheny responded quickly after Gusty Mead, ’16, gained control of the ball, leading to another Dickson goal to bring the Gators within three. Rapelje snagged another draw control, leading to Dickson’s second goal inside of a minute.

Katie Denning, ’16, would score her first goal of the season following ground ball pickups by rookie Alexa Maloney and Rapelje that allowed the Gators’ to keep possession. Denning’s goal brought Allegheny within one, but a Wooster score would increase their lead to two once more. Goals by Rapelje and Jessie Thiessen, ’17, would tie the score at 11 with 7:17 remaining in the contest.

Following a Wooster shot, Kaelin Clogan, ’17, last week’s Allegheny Female Athlete of the Week, picked up a ground ball and converted the clear. A Rodgers goal off of the assist from Bell would give the Gators a one-point advantage with 5:49 remaining.

“When I scored that goal, I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to win that game,” said Rodgers. “We still had like 5 minutes left to play, but we were so excited that I knew there wasn’t any way we would lose.”

A Wooster turnover would result in another Rodgers goal assisted by Bell to put the Scots away with 2:53 left in the game.

Coach Hughes credits her team for their ability to maintain a positive attitude.

“We came out in the second half with composure and slowly built the momentum to claw away at the deficit,” Hughes said. “The positive energy carried us into the win and we were able to make a huge comeback with composure, confidence and poise.”

Looking ahead, the Gators will play their conference home opener Saturday at 1 p.m. against Wittenberg.

“I think that our success has come from us working hard, staying positive and supporting each other,” said Rodgers. “We also know that we want 2014 on the banner in the Wise Center, so we are really driven to get there.”