By Meghan Falconer
Usually when a group of girls flies out to New York for the weekend, it is in anticipation of shopping and shows, but for the University of Dallas women’s lacrosse team, it was all business this past weekend. While most of their classmates were busy trying to decide which shade of lipstick would best match their heels for Spring Formal, the crew of 14 players boarded their plane Friday afternoon and focused on getting ready for their game against Purchase College the next morning.
The Crusaders’ major goal-scorer, freshman Erin Chadwick, and major defender, sophomore Mary White, were not on that plane, since they had suffered season-ending injuries in the previous game against Oklahoma Baptist University. Within the early minutes of the game, the loss of these key players was apparent, and Purchase College, who had maintained a .900 record and an undefeated record at home, showed no mercy. Purchase came at the Crusaders hard. Purchase player Samantha Rich gained a draw control right off of the whistle and drove into UD’s zone. The UD defense was able to temporarily regain possession until the Purchase midfield forced a turnover and scored on a free position shot. Though Crusader midfielders junior Colby Madrigal and senior Mary Hilker were both able to score points, the rest of the first half proceeded with the UD women struggling to maintain offensive possession. Meanwhile, Purchase’s attack players made excellent feeds and scored on well-placed shots.
In the second half, the wind mercifully subsided, and along with that, the Crusaders gained their own second wind. Freshman Sarah Schmitz, junior Hayley Rodgers and Hilker each scored easily, and with senior Meghan Falconer pulling the draw to her UD teammate’s possession, the UD defense only allowed three more goals. Senior Christine Jablonsky made 10 total game saves to tie up the second half. Despite this, the well-fought battle ended with Purchase far ahead, 17-5.
On Sunday, the Crusader women traveled to New Jersey to take on the College of St. Elizabeth Eagles. UD players felt right at home playing in the calm and sunny 66 degree weather on a natural grass field much like their own. Schmitz was able to catch a feed from Rodgers to score the first official goal of the game. Although the Crusaders never successfully ran a complete play, midfielder freshman Patty Hahn, Hilker and Madrigal went on a scoring frenzy, racking up UD’s point count to nine by the end of the half.
“The combination of fire under our feet and skill made it easy to capitalize on shooting opportunities,” Hahn said.
The second half started off sluggishly for the UD women, and St. Elizabeth started to catch up on ground ball recoveries. However, with only 15 minutes left in the game, UD caught fire, and Madrigal scored another three points, Falconer and Rodgers each scored two, and one more apiece came from Hilker and Hahn. At the final buzzer, the score was 18-2, a clear Crusader victory.
“The team was working very well together on offense and our draw controls were on point,” Rodgers, the team captain, said. “Great way to finish up our Northeastern trip.”