photo by Keith Dalton
LORETTO, Pa.- Monmouth University’s women’s lacrosse team (7-6, 5-0 NEC) tallied nine goals in the final 9:54 of a close game with Saint Francis University (4-9, 1-5 NEC), to secure a 15-8 victory and remain undefeated in conference play.
The Hawks blew open what was a close game for 50 minutes, when senior Cassie Campasano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip/Jacksonville) gave the Hawks a 7-6 lead with 9:54 to play. Monmouth’s offense poured it on from there, launching a scoring barrage of six goals over the next 4:12 of the game to clinch the win.
“Saint Francis really came at us with everything they had and that took us off our game a little bit in the beginning of the match,” said Head Coach Denise Wescott . “It took us some time to settle into our game but when our backs were against the wall we stepped up and played with more intensity. I thought Kaleigh Gibbons did a great job settling us in. Marial finished some fast breaks and so did Cassie. We did well getting the draw and going at them after halftime and we fought back. I’m very pleased with our effort in the second half, it was nice to see we could handle pressure like that and be composed enough to pull it out.”
The two teams were deadlocked four times and the match featured four lead changes. Monmouth has now won five consecutive matches and seven of its last eight games.
The Red Flash regained the lead seven and a half minutes into the second frame when Rachel Larson scored her second goal of the game to give SFU a 5-4 advantage. Campasano tallied her second goal of the game on a feed from Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Central/RMU) with 22:12 to play in the half. Seven minutes later Gibbons gave the Hawks the lead with a goal that was assisted by Emily Barbieri (Parsippany, N.J./DePaul Catholic). The Red Flash won the ensuing draw and went right down the field, tying the game up again with a blast from Katie Schaaf 16 seconds after MU had taken the lead.
With Gibbons serving a yellow-card penalty, Campasano scored her third goal of the game, her 23rd of the season, to give the Hawks a 7-6 lead with 9:54 to play. Ninety seconds later Pierce netted her third marker of the contest and Monmouth led by two with 8:24 left in regulation. MU added three more goals over the next 83 seconds for an 11-6 lead and never looked back. Each team scored a pair of goals in the final minutes and Monmouth remained unbeaten in conference play with the 15-8 victory.
Saint Francis took an early 1-0 lead and held onto it for eight minutes until freshman Marial Pierce (Middleburg, Va./Saint John's Catholic) scored her 23rd goal of the season with 17:01 showing on the clock. The Hawks then built a 4-1 lead over the next seven minutes with goals from Campasano, sophomore Allison Stathius (Delran, N.J./Delran) and another from Pierce. The Red Flash battled back to even the score, notching three goals over a 5:03 period and the two teams went into the break tied at 4-4.
Gibbons tied a career-high with seven points on three goals and four assists while Campasano led all goal scorers with four markers. Pierce had three goals and defender Gianna D’Urso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) spearheaded the back line with five ground balls and four caused turnovers- both season highs.
Monmouth held a 27-21 advantage in shots and won 18 of the 25 draw controls in the match.
The Hawks return to Kessler Field on Friday, April 12 when they face rival Quinnipiac at 3 p.m.