Despite going 1-2 in three critical Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association games, the women’s lacrosse team still has a chance to make the UCAA tournament and Nationals. UR beat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 9-6 on Tuesday but suffered an 11-7 loss to Hamilton College and a 12-8 defeat by William Smith College Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The Yellowjackets struggled against a scrappy RPI team, but thankfully scrappiness was about all RPI had.
“We really gutted our way through the RPI game. It was not pretty, but it’s a win,” coach Andrea Golden said.
The Yellowjackets looked off in the first 25 minutes of the game but things started to get on track when sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Sack scored a goal off a well-timed assist from sophomore midfielder Emily Riegel with 3:59 left in the first half to knot the score at 2-2. Emily Riegel kept the momentum alive when she scored off a free position shot less than a minute later.
With unpredictable play and a 3-2 lead UR needed for another goal before they could claim the half as theirs. With 12 seconds left, sophomore midfielder Rachel Hawley came up with a ground ball and sprinted up field. After a whistle against RPI, eight seconds remained and Hawley found junior midfielder Katie Riegel wide open. Katie Riegel attacked the cage and scored with two seconds left. “We needed that goal. It was a big goal going into halftime,” Golden said.
UR opened the second half with three unanswered goals, putting the Yellowjackets on top 7-2 and held on from there.
“We didn’t do anything great. Our stickwork and ball control were adequate, but nothing special. We came away with a key UCAA win, but we need to improve in our next games,” Golden said.
Emily Riegel showed up big with four assists and a goal. Junior midfielder Sharon LaVaute also raised her play and made a solid contribution as a two-way player. Katie Riegel and Hawley each put in two goals the offense worked well out of set plays.
UR will travel to Union College on Friday and will face Skidmore College on Saturday. These games will determine the team’s postseason fate.
“These two games are going to be exciting, and we will need to play at our highest level to come away with two wins,” Golden said.
The top four teams in the UCAA make the conference tournament, the winner of which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UR currently stands 3-3 in the UCAA, and is in a five way battle for second, third and fourth place with Hamilton, St. Lawrence University, Union and Skidmore. William Smith has already locked up first. Hamilton is 4-2 and faces two of the worst teams in the conference. With two wins, Hamilton secures second, leaving UR to battle it out with the remaining three teams. St. Lawrence is 4-2, and still has Union and Skidmore left to play. One win and St. Lawrence is in, two losses and they are out.
Enter the Yellowjackets. UR must win both of its games against Union and Skidmore. If it does, UR will lock up a trip to the UCAA tournament, and will get a three or four seed. If St. Lawrence loses both games and the Yellowjackets win both of theirs, UR will secure a three-seed and a first round rematch with Hamilton.
“We had brilliant moments against Ithaca College, and scored eight goals against a solid William Smith team so we know we can play,” Golden said. The team boasts a strong defense, and with improved consistency in the midfield UR has a chance for two major conference victories and a trip to the UCAA tournament.
Fitzsimmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.