West Long Branch, N.J.- Monmouth University’s women’s lacrosse team (4-6, 2-0 NEC) exploded with 10 second half goals to overcome a two-goal halftime deficit and defeat Wagner College (4-6, 0-2 NEC) 12-7 on Sunday.
The Hawks were led by senior Cassie Campasano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip/Jacksonville), who had a career-high five goals, all in the second half. After Wagner took a 4-2 lead into halftime, Monmouth tallied eight unanswered goals in the first 21 minutes of the second frame, taking a commanding 10-4 lead. Over that stretch Campasano scored three straight, including one at the 26:09 mark which gave the Hawks their first lead of the game 5-4.
“We started off slow and gave Wagner opportunities which they took advantage of,” said head coach Denise Wescott. “During halftime, we talked about settling in and playing our game more. Get better looks offensively. In the second half we started to push a little more, went after draws better, we pushed the ball up the field and ran the fast break well. Once we started on a run, our defense did a nice job of shutting them down, so both ends helped us change momentum.”
Senior Sam Savona (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty) cut the lead to one on a free position shot with 28:13 showing on the clock. Junior Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Central/RMU) tied the game up less than two minutes later after the Hawks’ transition game got working, with defender Kelly Dalton (Ellicott City, Md./Mount DeSales) earning an assist on the goal. Campasano’s three goals put MU up 7-4 with 18:05 left but the MU offense wasn’t done. The Hawks scored three more unanswered to put the game virtually out of reach. Wagner scored for the first time all half with 6:56 to play, but Gibbons answered that goal with one of her own three and a half minutes later. Wagner scored twice in the final 2:25 with Campasano earning her fifth goal of the day with one minute remaining.
The first half saw Wagner take the lead just 1:58 into the match, but sophomore Allison Stathius (Delran, N.J./Delran) knotted the game up at the 25:53 mark. The Seahawks led most of the first frame, mainly due to the play of Tumolo who had three goals and an assist. The freshman scored back to back goals in the 20th and 16th minute to give Wagner a 3-1 advantage. The Hawks cut the lead to one on an Erica Abendschoen (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) free position goal but Wagner’s Jessica Mills gave her squad a two goal cushion going into halftime after a feed from Tumolo. MU held a 16-9 advantage in shots in the first half but Seahawk goalie Katie Ferraro tallied seven saves in the period.
“Cassie is a lot more confident,” said Wescott. “She’s been coming off the back of the crease and looking for when the defender turns her head. We felt they were a little vulnerable in the crease and we talked with her about that. Emily (Barbieri) kept finding her in that open space and I thought Cassie did a great job shooting as well.”
Ferraro ended with 12 saves as MU held a 34-18 advantage in shots. MU goaltender Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Secondary) made nine saves in the win and had three ground balls and a caused turnover.
Campasano led all scorers with her five-goal performance while Savona and Gibbons each had three points. Gibbons had a career-high eight ground balls and three caused turnovers. Senior Gianna D’Urso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) also had a trio of caused turnovers and three ground balls.
Tumulo led Wagner with three goals, while four other Seahawks had a goal in the contest.
Monmouth will play at Mount St. Mary’s in a rematch of last year’s NEC Title game, on Friday March 29. Gametime is slated for 1 p.m.