It was senior day at Tenney Stadium for the Marist women’s lacrosse team. In the last game of their shortened season the Red Foxes were hungry to end the season at an even .500 record following a 17-9 loss to Fairfield University from April 24.
After a hard fought game, Marist lost to the Siena Saints in overtime, 17-16. They will leave the regular season with a 2-4 record.
“We have to be a bit more disciplined on defense,” head coach Jess Wilkinson said. “They [Siena] were cracking down on us a lot and I think we got a little comfortable when we were up by three with a minute and a half left.”
On the opening draw it was Siena’s Nicole McNeely winning the faceoff and taking it down the field. A long possession led to Marist senior Delaney Galvin making her first save of the game and the Marist counter. They would not capitalize, though, as the Saints came back on a fast break to open the scoring.
Seven out of eight Marist goals in the first half were scored by seniors. Devon Connelly responded right away with a hard drive to the cage and blasting the ball off-stick high on senior goalie Allie Mervin. Siena responded with another score, but Connelly drove hard to goal and split the defense to tie the game at two on the next possession.
After Siena scored two consecutive goals, senior Kelly George who would respond twice to even the score at four. One goal was from a pass inside from teammate Alex Di Chiara and the second was a shovel shot from behind the back.
Just like their previous offensive set, the Saints went up by two goals again. On offense, Siena was assessed a foul, and George was given a free position shot from the center hash. She capitalized on the free shot at goal, securing a first-half hat trick.
“We just wanted to go back to how we played at the beginning of the season and playing more as a team and getting those connections back,” George said of the offense. “We kind of shied away from it with the pause, but we really started playing Marist lacrosse today and so it was good to get back on that flow.”
Sam Mehalick found her first points in the game in the later part of the first half by assisting senior Isabelle Stockman’s goal, tying the game at six apiece, and scoring herself on the next possession on a feed from George.
The game was even at seven until Siena was assessed a yellow card for a check to the head on George. They killed the penalty, but freshman Maddie Schrader scored to take the lead for the first time late in the first half.
Marist was a man up to open the second half, as a lingering penalty on freshman Bella D’Gracia from Siena’s Annie Brennan occurred with 58 seconds left in the first half. The Red Foxes could not capitalize on their man-up advantage, and All-Preseason MAAC player senior Kerry Gerety tied the game for Siena.
The Saints opened the scoring again in the second half, scoring two straight before sophomore Kerri Gutenberger responded with a shot down low cutting in from the elbow. George scored her fourth of the game at the end of a long possession.
Siena held the pressure on the Red Foxes as George caught the ball at X with 15 seconds left on the shot clock. She ran around the back of the net, and was quick enough to get a step inside her defender, get her hands free, and hammer the shot home with two seconds left on the shot clock. Her fifth goal came right after, receiving a pass in traffic on the doorstep from Mehalick to overtake the lead again, 11-10.
“We really tried to push the fast break on them and saw that if we just push the pace, there will be a lot of openings,” said George. “I think that was definitely a good takeaway from this game, as we will bring it to whoever we play next.”
Connelly completed her hat trick to push Marist’s lead to two, but McNeely responded with a pump fake behind the back on her right before switching to her left to beat Galvin on the far post.
Senior Romy Villemure was assessed a yellow card, putting Siena on a man up advantage. Galvin turned away their chance, and sent the Red Foxes down to attack. After a string of shooting space changes and another card to Siena, Connelly scored her fourth on a rip down low on the far post. Galvin finished the game with 12 saves.
Mehalick had the chance from the second hash to put away her second of the game when Marist was ahead by three, their largest margin of the game. Siena responded, but George kept the lead of three with her sixth score, running from the elbow and beating her defender.
The Saints would answer with a goal, but it was not enough to overtake the lead as Marist’s attack was not backing down. Gutenberger scored her second after spinning to lose her opponent and shooting high. Marist was ahead by three, 16-13 and forced Siena to take a timeout.
Marist was on a roll not just in the scoring category but on the draw as well. Stockman took all the draws for the Red Foxes and nearly doubled Siena’s performance on the circle, winning 22 draws to the Saints’ 12.
After the time out and a long possession on offense for Marist, they could not capitalize and McNeely scored her sixth goal to try and breathe some life back into her team with just over a minute to play.
Two Marist fouls would result in two yellow cards, putting Siena a man up for the last 32 seconds. Brennan was awarded a free position shot and brought the game within one. The Saints won the next draw and was awarded another eight meter to tie the game with seven seconds left. It was McNeely’s seventh goal.
Overtime opened with Stockman winning the draw, but they were still a man down from their previous card. Marist took a time out with 38 seconds on the shot clock on the opening possession in extra time. Mehalick’s free position was denied by Mervin, and Siena set down on attack. D’Gracia was assessed a yellow, and Gerety was awarded a free position shot that she decided to pull out and work around the arc. The ball came back to her and she ripped the shot top corner to win the game 17-16.
“I told them not to overthink it,” Wilkinson said of what she told her seniors heading into this game. “The emotions can get ahead of them and I think that a lot of times we have to make sure that we still have a job to do. I let them know that they have accomplished so much already, regardless of a win or a loss or whatever today.”
With the regular season now behind them, Marist now focuses on their next objective; the MAAC tournament. “We will keep working on ourselves,” Wilkinson said. “When we find out who our opponent is, we will make sure that we are prepared for that team specifically.”
With all the teams in the conference making it to the postseason, Marist will have to play a qualifying game first. Their opponent has not yet been announced, nor the time, date or location of their next game.
Edited by Sam DiGiovanni
Photo from Marist Athletics