MILTON, Mass. – The Curry College women's lacrosse team locked up the fourth seed in the upcoming Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) tournament with an exciting 16-15 victory over the Golden Bears of Western New England University (WNE). With the win, the Colonels improve to 10-7 on the year with a 4-4 mark in the CCC. WNE falls to 3-4 in league play with an overall record of 8-8.
In their final home game of the year, the Colonels started the day by honoring their lone senior, defenseman Angela Johns (Burrillville, R.I.). As the game got underway, however, it was the Golden Bears who had reason to celebrate. Samantha Vitka (Stratford, Conn.) scored both of the game's first two goals, before Reilly Miller (Goshen, N.Y.) and Kaitlyn Hutter (Stamford, Conn.) made the score 4-0 in favor of WNE. Nearly 13 minutes into the action, Leona Stevens (Kingston, Mass.) finally broke through with the first Curry goal of the day, which was soon followed by free position goals from Abby Dubel (Wolfeboro, N.H.) and Allie Wysocki (Agawam, Mass.). With 12:31 left to play in the first half, Stevens converted a free position opportunity of her own to tie the score at four. Kristen Breen (Ellington, Conn.) got the Golden Bears back on top with a helper from Carley Piemonte (East Longmeadow, Mass.), but Taylor Gallagher (Rockland, Mass.) found freshman Sharon Doherty (North Easton, Mass.) on the other end of the field to once again tie the score. With six minutes remaining, Dubel converted a free position chance to give the Colonels their first lead of the day, but three unanswered scores by WNE jolted them ahead by a score of 8-6. Wysocki cut the deficit in half with an unassisted marker, but the goal would stand as the final goal of the half, sending the teams to the intermission with a score of 8-7.
Three minutes into the second frame, Miller found her target once more, netting the first man-up goal of the evening and giving WNE a 9-7 edge. Curry was not far behind, however, as the next four minutes saw four unanswered goals from the hosts, who jumped out to an 11-9 lead, highlighted by a Wysocki score to capitalize on a player advantage. The tension picked up rapidly as Vitka and Miller each scored once more to grab the sixth tie of the contest at 11-11, a score which would hold for over seven minutes, the longest scoreless streak of the day. As the clock ticked under 14 and a half minutes, Torres converted a free position shot, before making her way to the net unassisted to score once more and make the game 13-11 just 40 seconds later. Off the ensuing draw control, Dubel padded the lead with another unassisted tally, giving the hosts some breathing room with a 14-11 advantage. The lead would evaporate quickly, though, as back-to-back scores from Liz Mazza (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Hannah Jarvis (Westfield, Mass.) brought the visitors to within one at 14-13. After a yellow card was assessed to Curry, their third of the day, the Golden Bears made good on the chance and tied the score again, as Mazza found home. With just under seven minutes to play, Vitka beat the goalie for the fourth time and capped the WNE run with a 15-14 lead. Seconds became minutes as the Colonels were running out of time to make a move, but a foul on Mazza inside the critical scoring area gave Curry the chance they needed. Dubel converted the opportunity for her fifth goal of the day, tying the score for the eighth time, this time at 15-15. With the teams looking to avoid overtime, a yellow card was shown to WNE for dangerous play, giving the hosts a significant edge for the final 1:26. The Colonels refused to let the opportunity go by, as Torres found Doherty who found nylon to push Curry ahead with a 16-15 score. The Golden Bears had their chance to knot the score again, in fact, they had two, as Miller got a pair of free position opportunities on consecutive fouls by the Colonels, but stout defense and good goalkeeping kept her tries out of the net and locked up the Curry triumph by a score of 16-15.
Curry's scoring was led by Dubel, who collected a season high five goals. Torres (3 goals, 1 assist) and Wysocki (4 goals) notched four points apiece. In the defeat, both Miller (3 goals, 1 assist) and Vitka (4 goals) registered four points as well, though they were the only two Golden Bears to reach the mark. Kaitlyn Marchant (Londonderry, N.H., 7-6) heads home with the loss despite pulling in 17 saves, while the 12 saves of Jessica Ginaitt (Warwick, R.I., 10-7) are good enough for her tenth win of the season.
Though five CCC games are yet to be played, this win locks up the fourth seed for the Colonels, thanks to tiebreakers over both Salve Regina and now Western New England. The Golden Bears will wrap up their conference schedule on Wednesday, April 24 with a home tilt versus the Salve Regina Seahawks. The winner will clinch the fifth seed and a trip to Curry in the first round of the tournament while the loser will settle for the sixth seed. The CCC action is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. in Springfield, Mass. The Colonels will enjoy an off week as they await their first round opponent.