The Marist women’s lacrosse team secured their first win of the season to Merrimack by a score of 16-12. Marist hosted the Warriors on Sunday afternoon in the third non-conference game of the 2023 season.
Merrimack was 0-4 entering this game, most recently coming off of a 16-4 loss to the University of New Hampshire.
In their previous and only match up, which took place in the 2022 season, Marist defeated the Warriors 16-15. On this chilly, but sunny afternoon, Marist was looking to continue this streak and pick up their first win of the season.
The Warriors struck first as sophomore midfielder Sophie Scearbo scored her sixth goal of the season just 50 seconds into the game. Just minutes later, Marist senior forward Kerri Gutenberger found the back of the net for her sixth goal of the season, leveling the game at 1-1.
Both teams continued to pack it on in the first quarter but strong efforts from the young defenders on both sides kept the score even until 10:44 when senior forward Kelly Trotta scored her seventh goal of the season giving the Red Foxes the 2-1 lead.
Less than a minute later, the Warriors tied it back up as freshman forward Grace Boneu found senior captain forward Natalie Calkins. This did not last for long, however, as Gutenberger completed a hat trick scoring off of passes from Trotta and junior attacker / draw specialist Maddie Schrader, giving Marist their largest lead of the game.
Despite first quarter failures on free positions by the Warriors, grad student Olivia Valdes scored two free position goals to level the game back up.
Marist continued to pound it offensively in the first half as Trotta tallied another two goals, and Gutenberger and sophomore forward Alexa Borges knocked in one-a-piece to end the half with an 8-4 lead for the Foxes.
Marist’s momentum continued in the third quarter as goals from Schrader, Trotta, and senior attacker Olivia Arntsen gave Marist a seven-goal lead.
Schrader’s goal came when Marist were a woman down after freshman midfielder Caitlin McNaboe received a yellow card.
“We had the lead for the majority of the game but we didn’t feel like it was signed, sealed and delivered,” Marist head coach Jess Wilkinson said. “We want to have that 0-0 mentality. I think keeping us honest, and making sure that we are sticking to our game plan and not falling short of our standard of play is crucial.”
Although the game looked to be too far gone, Merrimack junior attacker Georgia Parker’s 12th minute goal in the third period brought the game back within reach with a score of 11-5. Less than two minutes later, Arnsten scored her second of the game to once again give Marist the seven-goal lead.
The Warriors responded with three unanswered goals, including two from Valdes to end the third quarter with a score of 12-8.
Merrimack looked to continue this run in the fourth quarter, but for each goal they scored, Marist answered, keeping the goal differential at four.
“As a coach, sometimes that is when I get nervous as I don’t like us to get too comfortable,” Wilkinson said. “They did a great job with playing with that full steam ahead mentality. I know Merrimack was very good with chipping away goal after goal, and we were going goal after goal, so it was really a great game to win knowing that we were able to prevail.”
Valdes led the way for the Warriors finishing the day with five goals. Sceabo and Parker followed with three goals, and Calkins added one. Boneu recorded three assists for Merrimack.
For Marist, Trotta finished the day with five goals and two assists, setting her career high in both points and goals scored. Gutenberg also set her career high for goals scored with five.
“They want to contribute the best they know how as an individual player, but no more than they want to contribute to the win,” Wilkinson said.
Arnsten was able to find her footing in this game after a slow start, finishing with two goals and three assists. Schrader and McPherson each had one goal and an assist. The game also saw two first career goals for Borges and McNaboe.
“I am super proud of them, the more depth we have on our attack the better,” Wilkinson said. “I know [Gutenberger] and [Trotta] are both very good attackers. But let’s be honest, I want seven people out there who can produce, not just two. The more we can put on others’ shoulders the better.”
Defensively for Marist, Lopes finished the day with a career high of 10 saves. Hayley Kowalczyk, sophomore goalkeeper for the Warriors, finished the day with 8 saves and Scearbo picked up three ground balls. Six Red Foxes added to the scoresheet with two ground balls each.
A continued strong offensive performance across the board gives this team a lot to look forward to, not only throughout the rest of this season, but in the future as well.
“We are big on film,” Wilkinson said. “So we watch exactly it is that we did right, and we make sure we implement it in the next game. We studied really hard for this game. We studied the opponent this game, if that is something that is going to work for us to make us feel more prepared than we are going to do that throughout the whole season no matter how much work that takes.”
Marist will look to continue their streak as they travel to face Hofstra this week on Wednesday, March 1 at 1 p.m.
Edited by Andrew Hard
Photo from Jonathan Kinane