SMITHFIELD, R.I.- Monmouth University’s (10-6, 8-0 NEC) women’s lacrosse team remained undefeated in Northeast Conference play after overcoming a five-goal deficit and defeating Bryant University (8-7, 5-3 NEC) 12-8 on Friday night.
The win sets up a pivotal match with Central Connecticut State (9-7, 7-1 NEC) on Sunday, with the winner claiming the Northeast Conference Regular Season Championship and the right to host the 2013 NEC Tournament.
After falling behind 5-0 in the first half, Monmouth outscored Bryant 12-3 in the final 45 minutes of the game. Sophomore goaltender Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Secondary School) made 11 saves in the game, including eight in the final 15 minutes of play. Sophomores Allison Stathius (Delran, N.J./Delran) and Karlee Dean (Medford Lakes, N.J./Shawnee) each had four goals in the win for the Hawks.
“Bryant is an athletic team and they jumped on us early, they were driving on us and scoring on some eight meters,” said Head Coach Denise Wescott. “Our defense started to settle in and we did a better job sliding. Gianna had a great game for us tonight, she was able to shut down a lot of their drives. Offensively, we found open players when we needed them. Katie just shut the door on them in the second half along with our defense. The save right at the end of the half really gave us the momentum to start the second half. We went to goal hard and Allison had some key goals for us tonight.”
Monmouth headed into the second half tied 6-6 with Bryant but had outscored the Bulldogs 6-1 in the final 15 minutes of the first half. The Hawks carried that momentum into the second frame, with Dean getting on the board first just 49 seconds into the half on a free position goal that gave the Hawks their first lead of the game. Dean expanded the lead with another goal three minutes later. Lisa Vendel cut the Hawk lead to one with her third marker but Monmouth rattled off four unanswered goals, including another from Stathius, one from senior Cassie Campasano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip/Jacksonville) and two from senior Sam Savona (Liberty, N.J./Jackson Liberty). Vendel completed the scoring with 6:57 to play but Donohoe kept the Bulldogs out of the net to preserve the four goal win.
Bryant dominated the first 15 minutes of the game, building a 5-0 lead with a pair of goals from Vendel and Sniffen. With 13:50 Monmouth finally got a goal on a shot from sophomore Emily Barbieri (Parsippany, N.J./DePaul Catholic). Stathius scored back to back goals over the next three minutes, to cut the lead to 5-3. Bryant pushed its lead to 6-3 with 8:43 to play but Dean scored her first goal of the day to cut the lead to 6-4. Stathius’ third goal, coming at the 4:37 mark got MU to within one then Dean tied it up going into the half with her unassisted goal with 2:09 to play.
Savona had two goals and an assist on the night while Campasano finished with a goal and an assist. The MU defense was particularly active, with junior Kelly Dalton (Ellicott City, Md./Mount DeSales) finishing with a pair of ground balls and caused turnovers while senior Gianna D’Urso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) had three caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Vendel had four goals for the Bulldogs while Sniffen had three points on two goals and an assist. Bulldog goalie Brianna Watt had four saves in the game.
The Hawks and Blue Devils will play at 12 p.m. with the NEC Tournament hosting rights on the line. Fans can watch the game for free at www.necfrontrow.com