Meghan Falconer, Contributing Writer
On Friday, the University of Dallas women’s lacrosse team traveled to Iowa to play an exciting evening match against the Loras College Duhawks. The Crusaders were hot from the start, with junior Mary Hilker scoring two goals in the first minute of game play, and defense locking down on the Duhawks’ highest scorer, Kaitlin Kutch.
However, the Duhawks, realizing Kutch was too heavily guarded even for screens or feeds, started setting up a “drive and dump” play between Anna Schwalbe and Hannah Nelson. This was effective enough to give Loras a temporary lead that left UD trailing just behind in goals, one of which was the first career goal of rookie freshman LeeAnna Pyle. With four minutes left in the half, junior Meghan Falconer intercepted the ball behind the net on defense and drove all the way upfield to score on a left-handed crease roll, tying the Crusaders and Duhawks at seven goals each.
The second half was almost completely controlled by the Crusaders, with a 5- and then a 4-goal streak. The Duhawks were able to close the gap slightly near the end of game play, with Kutch squeezing in successful penalty shots within the last few minutes. However, the Crusaders emerged victorious, with a final score of 12-10. Sophomore Hayley Rodgers scored five goals, Hilker and Falconer each scored two, and freshmen Cascade Mayer, Mary Davern and Pyle each scored one.
After spending a relaxing Saturday in Chicago, the Crusaders traveled even farther north to Beloit College to play their most physical match of the year. Despite the return of talented defenseman junior Anne Belton, the Crusaders struggled to control Beloit’s three exceedingly aggressive and accurate offensemen.
The Crusaders consistently won draw controls. However, Beloit was able to quickly cause turnovers in transition and effectively move the ball up the field, avoiding the Crusaders’ attempts to double-team.
Despite losing 16-3, junior Anita Villalpando walked away from the field proud of how the Crusaders performed.
“Our team is always able to make improvements throughout each game, and I can see so much improvement from the beginning of the season,” Villalpando said.