The UR women’s lacrosse team rebounded from a 12-3 loss to SUNY Cortland in a huge way this past week. Increased consistency and a cleaner transition game were just two of the keys to the Yellowjackets’ victories over the SUNY Geneseo Blue Knights and the Ithaca College Bombers.

On Saturday, the women travelled to Geneseo to play a game in a virtual mudpit. “It was quite a game, seeing them trudge through the mud was pretty impressive,” coach Andrea Golden said.

The field conditions made scoring more difficult, placing importance on the defensive and transition units. At halftime, the Yellowjackets trailed 6-4, but came out sharp in the second half.

Sophomore midfielder Rachel Hawley was key to UR’s second half success. “Rachel really picked it up in the transition game and helped set up our attack,” Golden said. Hawley only scored one goal in the game but it was the goal that gave UR their first lead of the game at 7-6.

The Yellowjackets never let go of this lead and junior attacker Sarah Walker would later add two insurance goals – one from the free position – to finish the scoring, giving UR the 9-6 victory. Walker scored three on the day and started the 5-0 second half shutout.

To hold a team scoreless for an entire half you have to give credit to the defense. Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Bristol was credited with nine saves for the game. Along with Bristol, Golden credited the cluster of junior midfielder Sharon LaVaute, sophomore midfielder Liz Sack and sophomore defender Amy Hein for their defensive efforts and for improving UR’s ball control.

LaVaute along with sophomore forward Emily Riegel had two goals apiece to spark the offense. Junior attacker Samantha Krawitzky added UR’s other goal and junior attacker Melanie Branski picked up the lone assist for the Yellowjackets.

Coming off a win against Geneseo, UR knew they would be up for a war when they faced off against Ithaca. Over the past four years UR has beaten Ithaca, but the wins have either been by one goal or come in an overtime period, so it is fair to say that UR and Ithaca are rivals.Ithaca came into the game ranked 12 in the nation and boasted a 6-0 record, but just as they have done in the past few years, the Yellowjackets came out on top.

Wednesday’s victory, however, was different than the previous wins over Ithaca. This time UR controlled the game from early on and once they had the lead Ithaca was never on top again.

Ithaca tied the game up at 6-6 with 3:11 remaining in the first half, but from there UR went on a tear. UR went into halftime on a high after Sack scored the go ahead goal with two seconds remaining in the half, putting the Yellowjackets on top 7-6.UR came out of halftime on a mission, streaking off five unanswered goals within the first ten minutes.

“We came out of halftime and fixed all the little things we were doing wrong, and really put the pressure on Ithaca right away,” Golden said. “We cleaned up the loose passes in the second half and that made the difference.”

UR had built themselves a cushion and rode it through the rest of the game and came away with a 15-11 win.

Walker scored four goals in the game and had one assist, while junior attacker Katie Riegel led the team in total points with six. Riegel scored twice and earned four assists. Bristol was huge in the goal making “crucial saves that robbed Ithaca of atleast two sure goals,” according to Golden. In all, Bristol earned 14 saves and anchored a strong defensive performance.

“To beat Ithaca the way we did showed how well we can work together and it gives us confidence heading into our UCAA games, Walker said. Up next, UR opens their UCAA schedule when they host Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Vassar College this weekend.

Fitzsimmons can be reached at

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