The women’s lacrosse team pulled off three convincing wins this past week in defeating rival Ithaca College 7-6, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 18-5 and Vassar 18-2.
Against Ithaca, the Yellowjackets struggled early in the game and trailed 5-1 at the end of the half.
“We didn’t respond to their pressure in the midfield and allowed them to break out to a 5-1 lead,” senior captain Jen Seferiadis said.
The team made an effort to refocus and regroup for the second half.
“I stood there at halftime and visualized myself doing whatever it took to stop the ball from going in the net, giving my teammates clears that fell right in their sticks, allowing them to transition it up the field,” sophomore goalie Stephanie Bristol said.
The break at the half paid off in helping the team pull together, and with the new energy, UR was able to put up key goals on the scoreboard and walk away with a 7-6 victory over eighth-ranked Ithaca. For the seniors, this was their fourth win in four years against their rival.
“We credit Ithaca with bringing out the best in our team, our group was determined to chip away and play solid team defense,” head coach Andrea Golden said.
“A group does not create a win like that unless they play as a team.”
Seferiadis scored two goals for the Yellowjackets, and freshman Emily Riegel scored two, including the game winner. Seniors Jennifer Rogers and Lauren Mele and sophomore Katie Riegel picked up a goal apiece.
The exciting win against Ithaca set a tone for the two road games over the weekend against RPI and Vassar.
Against RPI, UR’s first Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association opponent, the Yellowjackets came out strong and put shot after shot in the back of the net. At the end of the half, UR led 10-1, and was on its way to an easy 18-5 win.
The Yellowjackets then faced another UCAA opponent in Vassar.
The Vassar game mimicked the RPI game with the Yellowjackets coming out strong and pouring goals into the net. The Yellowjackets shot out to a 15-0 lead before Vassar scored its first goal.
Senior Erika Bergstrom led UR with four goals. Seferiadis picked up three goals, and Mele, Katie and Emily Riegel and sophomore Melanie Branski scored two goals each. Rogers, senior Jessica Lerman and sophomore Sarah Walker picked up one goal apiece.
“We tried to keep our standard of play high even though the intensity of the play was slightly different from the Ithaca and Geneseo games,” Golden said.
“This weekend’s competition was not as stiff as our opening three matches, but it was important for us to maintain our focus and keep bringing our game to another level,” Seferiadis said.
With the wins, UR stayed undefeated at 5-0, with a 2-0 record in the UCAA.
“These were our first two conference wins and we are establishing a name for ourselves in the UCAA with every single victory,” senior captain Cassie Meltzer said.
With their current undefeated record, the Yellowjackets soared up both the LaxPower.com and Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association rankings. UR is now ranked No. 19 in the nation among Division III schools in both polls.
The team has not only been turning to the senior leaders, but to sophomore goalie Stephanie Bristol. Bristol has been playing phenomenally in net this season, despite being thrown into the starting goalie position as a sophomore.
“Bristol is very enthusiastic to be a starter and is taking on the role with great poise,” Golden said. “She is still only a sophomore but she is bringing an early maturity to the position.”
“Steph has become one of the best and most dominating goalies in the league,” Meltzer said. “She consistently saves hard shots and works the ball up the field excellently.”
“I think my level of play has increased due to my personal dedication to UR lacrosse by making sure I stay in the best shape possible and concentrate 100 percent for every practice and game,” Bristol said.
The Yellowjackets have two home games this weekend. UR hosts Clarkson University at Fauver Stadium on Friday at 4 p.m. and faces St. Lawrence University on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Six of UR’s final seven games are against UCAA opponents.
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