By Meghan Falconer
This past Thursday, March 19, the University of Dallas women’s lacrosse team took on the Comets of Olivet College, from Michigan, in an afternoon matchup. 70-degree temperatures and 80 percent humidity made it the most sweltering weather each team had yet encountered this season. Olivet attack players Geri Merrell and Taylor Guarnaccia each scored within the first seven minutes of game play, forcing the Crusaders into playing catch-up early on. However, the University of Dallas women responded soon after with goals from senior Anne Belton, junior Hayley Rodgers and freshman Erin Chadwick. The team was able to tie the game score 4-4 by halftime.
In the second half, the University of Dallas women defensively held Olivet down, allowing them to take only nine more shots, two being successful penalty shots. Crusader goalie Christine Jablonsky’s saves pushed her total career saves over the school record of 358, setting a new one at 360. The Crusader midfield was altogether stronger than previously this season, playing the majority of the second half around Olivet’s goal and taking far more shots on goal. However, Olivet goalie Xavier Vance proved all but impenetrable, as she stopped 13 of the University of Dallas’ 15 shots on goal, five of which occurred in the final four minutes of game play. University of Dallas Head Coach Melissa Grant said she was disappointed with the way UD played the second half.
“We fell apart,” she said. “We worked the ball all the way into their zone but would force a terrible pass or terrible shot instead of setting anything up.”
The following Sunday, March 22, the Crusaders took on the University of North Texas for their final home game of the season, and as is tradition, the team’s five seniors were recognized before the game for their dedication and accomplishments throughout their years on the team. The players honored were midfielder Mary Hilker, defender-turned-midfielder Meghan Falconer, defender Belton, goalie Jablonsky, and attack player Anita Villalpando.
From the first moments of the game until the clock ran out, the Crusaders dominated the visiting “Mean Green” of UNT. Hilker and Chadwick took turns winning draw controls, and Chadwick scored a fantastic seven goals, including four in a row in the first few minutes. Hilker led the game in ground ball recoveries with eight, and nabbed two goals for herself. Falconer, Rodgers and freshman midfielder Patty Hahn each scored a trifecta of goals; junior midfielder Colby Madrigal netted two; and junior attack player Anna Macdonald, through a well-executed inside roll, scored her first career goal. The Crusaders walked away with a stunning victory of 21-1.
“I was bored, but I was happy about it,” Jablonsky said, laughing while reflecting on the game’s lack of action in the Crusaders’ zone. “But [it] was awesome that we could dominate our last home game.”