On a warm but windy Wednesday in April, the Marist Women’s Lacrosse Team faced the Canisius Griffins at Tenney Stadium. Marist was looking to add another win to their conference play, after recently falling to Monmouth University 12-15. Canisius was seeking their first win of the season after losing to Quinnipiac in double overtime. Ultimately, Marist was able to tag on another conference win with the final score of 19-14.
The game began with a draw win by the Red Foxes, but graduate student and midfielder, Jen Reininger, gave Canisius the early lead with the first goal of the game. Two minutes later, Reininger tallied another goal for the Griffins.
But this early start by Canisius did not go unanswered by Marist. A few minutes later, junior attack Samantha Mehalick found sophomore attack Kelly George who put the Red Foxes on the board. Shortly after, sophomore midfielder Tessa Scheid, caged one off the draw and Mehalick put one in the back of the net. After back and forth possessions, the Griffins answered with a goal from sophomore midfielder Marissa Malvaso. George responded by firing another one in for the Red Foxes, making the score 4-3. Each team was working hard to keep the game close.
Marist racked up five more goals by George, senior midfielder Audrey Cerrone, junior midfielder Jana Rothman, and two by Mehalick, making this the first hat trick of the game. Consistent draw wins by senior midfielder Hailey Wagner, who is the leading player in draw controls in the NCAA, helped to propel the team’s offense throughout the game.
The Griffins were having trouble finding the net; however, they were making every effort to stay in the game. Due to a crosscheck foul by Red Fox junior defender Annie Sheehy, Canisius took advantage of being one girl up. Reininger tallied another one with the assist by Malvaso, making the second hat trick of the game. Quickly after, midfield graduate student of Canisius Rachel Heidenreich fired another in, bringing the score to 9-5. The Griffins were determined to bring the score closer before the half.
However, Cerrone caged another for the Red Foxes to add to the Marist lead. After possessions by both teams in the final minutes of the first half, Marist had the final say of the half with the third hat trick of the game by George in the final seconds. Marist led Canisius into the half, 11-5.
The Griffins started out the second half motivated to catch up to the Red Foxes. In the first two minutes, they racked up three goals, bringing the score to 11-8. The halftime proved to be crucial for Canisius to put themselves back in the game.
Shortly after the Griffins scoring streak, the Red Foxes took a timeout to regain composure. It seemed effective as Mehalick, leading in goals per game in the MAAC, scored the first goal for Marist in the second half. George and Wagner also each racked up another goal for Marist, bringing the Red Foxes ahead by six.
However, this did not go unanswered by the Griffins. Cummings added another goal for Canisius after the second yellow card for Sheehy. Shortly after, Canisius senior attack Jourdan Roemer tallied a goal as well as junior midfielder Rachel Ryan and Malvaso. The Red Foxes also obtained a goal by sophomore midfielder Romy Villemure and Mehalick once again. This left the score 16-12 with 10 minutes left to play.
In the final minutes of play, Canisius saw a goal from freshman attack Katie Smolensky and Reininger. But Marist answered with goals caged by Wagner, senior defender Logan Boyle, and George. The Red Foxes pulled out another MAAC win, with the final score of 19-14.
“It was a really big win today. We hit the gas pedal and took it to them,” George said. This was George’s career high of 11 points on the day. “Everyone was doing a great job cutting and I was able to feed them,” she said. “They also gave me some clear lanes to take it and it just worked out. We all played lights out today.”
“This game was well deserved,” Marist Head Coach Jess Wilkinson said. “Kelly had a lot of assists and a lot of goals. It helped her see the potential that she has a player. She definitely puts in a lot of work and has a competitive attitude that we love having here.”
Last season, Marist fell to Canisius 12-13, in a season ending upset. “Today meant a lot to us, especially to our returners, to have this win,” Wilkinson said. “I think this was a great game for us as an example of what we are capable of doing. We played as an entire unit. It was really special for our seniors and I believe it’s the first time we have beat them in the last four years.”
The Red Foxes are looking forward to another conference game this Saturday against Fairfield University at Tenney Stadium. Looking ahead, Wilkinson is hoping to adjust some aspects of play. “Looking at our stats, we definitely want to make sure we are avoiding some of the fouls that we are making and beating teams to ground balls,” Wilkinson said. “Other than that, we want to keep doing what we are doing well and keeping it simple.”
Edited by Meaghan Roche