Mary Washington’s Women’s Lacrosse team may very well be the best 7-5 squad ever to take the field. All five of the Eagle’s losses in 2011 have come to nationally-ranked opponents, a trend that continued Monday afternoon at the Battleground. The #4 Catholic University of America Cardinals proved too much for the Eagles, handing UMW a 12-8 loss, their third in the last six games.
“They’re a top-ten team,” said UMW head coach Dana Hall after the game. “Every one of our losses has been to the top-fifteen teams… We’re playing a tough schedule. We’re competing; we’re not getting blown out of the games. We’ve been in them, and we need to beat a ranked team.”
Play was extremely even in the first half. Mary Washington (7-5, 4-1 CAC) found their way onto the board first, as Catherine Kennedy opened the game with goals at the 23rd and 20th minute marks, respectively. After a Catholic score, Allie Kimmelman tickled the twine and gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead with 12:59 to play in the half.
Then, momentum shifted abruptly. Over the next nine minutes, the Cardinals went on a tear, scoring four unanswered goals. During that span alone, junior Middie Mary Robinson netted herself a hat trick, and the Cardinals held a 5-3 lead with a little over three minutes before the break.
As the official clock hovered around one minute, it seemed Mary Washington would head into the break trailing by two. In an exciting series of events however, the Eagles notched two lightning-quick tallies in the final minute to knot the halftime score at 5-5.
Hall attributed the late-minute scoring run to strategy and set offensive pieces.
Said Hall, “We called a special play we ran that worked from the backside, with our two tallest players, and they found each other and made a connection.”
In the second half, it was seemingly All-Catholic. The Cardinals scored three goals in the opening ten minutes to take an 8-5 lead that they would never relinquish.
Catholic University of America head coach Meghan McDonough believed her team was stifled by the stingy Eagle defense in the first half, but made the necessary adjustments at the break.
“The girls were able to take what they learned in the first half and apply it with their speed and quickness,” remarked McDonough. “I think they just felt really good coming out of the half.”
After UMW sophomore Middie Keller Torrey scored with 20:15 remaining to bring Mary Wash back within one, Catholic responded with four more unanswered goals, putting the contest out-of-reach.
A Kimmelman tally with 9:08 remaining proved too little, too late for UMW, and Catholic milked the remaining time off the clock en route to the final score of 12-8.
“I’m really excited,” chimed McDonough after the game. “We’re coming off a good win over Stevenson, and to get any win over a top-20 team, we’ve created a good rivalry with Mary Washington in the past and I think it’s just continuing.
For Coach Hall and her 7-5 Eagles, the team’s two remaining CAC games will determine seeding in the conference tournament.
“We have two more conference games: Wednesday against Marymount, and then, Saturday against Stevenson. If we beat Stevenson, we’re the #2 seed. This team [Catholic] was up at halftime 14-1 against Stevenson on Saturday.”