WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Monmouth University’s (2-5) women’s lacrosse team won for the second consecutive time at home with a 15-8 victory against Sacred Heart on Tuesday.
The Hawks exploded with six unanswered goals in the first 9:40 of play but Sacred Heart answered with a string of three goals over a 1:26 span to cut the lead to 6-3. That was the closest that the Pioneers would get as Monmouth opened up a 10-goal lead in the second half. Six different players notched goals for the Hawks, including four-goal performances by senior Danielle Rakowitz (Montville, N.J./Montville) and junior Allison Stathius (Delran, N.J./Delran). Monmouth’s 15 goals were the most all season and the most since last April 7 (win against St. Francis).
“I was really proud of the attack today, said head coach Denise Wescott. “More than anything else we had many different players score and we had a lot of assists today. I think we’ve just improved so much since last year, we have a lot more tools offensively, in terms of players who can score and assist. We just had to work on our timing and our spacing and our cuts. We’ve been working hard on those things and our shooting. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and built confidence playing tough teams early like Towson and Delaware.”
It was the 200th career win for Wescott, who has led the Hawks to back to back NCAA Tournament Appearances.
Rakowitz accounted for three of the first six goals with Stathius netting one and one each from seniors Stephanie Anderson (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham/Rutgers) and Cassie Campasano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip/Jacksonville). Junior Emily Barbieri (Parsippany, N.J./DePaul Catholic) assisted on two of those markers, part of her five point day (2g-3a). Sacred Heart got its first of three straight goals at the 19:47 mark, then won consecutive draw controls and scored quickly to cut the lead to 6-3 at the 18:19 mark. Barbieri and senior Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Central/RMU) tallied back to back goals to put the MU margin back to five. Sacred Heart answered with a pair of goals to close out the half, including a Shelby Vaccaro goal with 10 seconds remaining.
The second half started similar to the first half, as Monmouth tore off seven consecutive unanswered goals to go ahead 15-5. With most of Monmouth’s starters resting, Vaccaro scored three free position goals in the final 4:58 to finish the scoring at 15-8.
MU outshot Sacred Heart 34-18 while earning a 14-11 edge in draw controls. Monmouth goaltender Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario) made three saves in 55 minutes of play, allowing six goals. The Hawks were 2-of-5 on free position goals while the Pioneers scored five of their eight goals from the 8 meter line.
Stathius had four goals and an assist while collecting three ground balls, four draw controls and causing a pair of miscues. Campasano had four points on three goals and an assist while Rakowitz had a career-high five points on four goals and an assist. Gibbons finished with a goal and three helpers and Barbieri tied a career high with five points on two goals and three assists.
Vaccaro the Pioneers with five goals and two assists for seven points, including going 4-of-5 on free position attempts. Pioneer goalie Kelly Keenan made 13 saves and had four ground balls in the contest.
Monmouth will take on Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, March 26 at 4 p.m.