Women’s Lacrosse Wins One Love Game Over Niagara

Coming off a promising 10-9 win against the Jaspers last Wednesday, the Marist women’s lacrosse team was back in action today against another MAAC opponent, the Niagara Purple Eagles in their annual One Love game in which the Red Foxes sealed a 12-11 victory. 

The One Love Foundation was founded to honor the tragic death of Yeardley Love, a member of the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Virginia who was in an abusive relationship. Love was a victim of domestic violence and the One Love Foundation was formed with the goal to end relationship abuse. 

“We made a decision earlier in the season and One Love was one of those organizations we really wanted to highlight,” said head coach Jessica Wilkinson. “It is very special to the lacrosse community itself but I think we can all do a better job of showcasing it to all athletes in general. I think that making sure everyone is getting themselves in healthy relationships, or at least recognizing what an unhealthy relationship is and the difference of that is really important. 

“I think in the college community especially, first relationships happen at that age, and I think that our girls just love making sure that their own are taken care of, and with that comes a lot of responsibility for things off the field.”

The Purple Eagles (8-6, 2-3) were coming wins over Iona and Quinnipiac. Sitting at third in MAAC standings prior to today’s matchup, the Red Foxes (4-9, 2-3) were tested early on this 80-degree April afternoon at Tenney Stadium. 

Senior attacker Kerri Gutenberger started things off for Marist notching her first goal just under a minute into regulation. Sophomore midfielder Juliana Santel would follow with her first career goal to put the Red Foxes up 2-0 early in the first quarter. The Purple Eagles would answer back to take a 3-2 lead in the quarter after two strong goals from junior attacker Lexi Braniecki. Gutenberger would tie things up for the Red Foxes to end the first quarter. 

Gutenberger makes a move toward goal (photo from Kira Crutcher)

After a pair of goals dished out by both Marist and Niagara, senior attacker Kelly Trotta tacked in her first of the game to start the Red Fox rally. Just minutes later, senior attacker Olivia Arntsen found junior attacker Maddie Schrader for her first goal of the game. Arnsten finished out the half with one of her own to take the Red Foxes to an 8-5 lead heading into the half. 

Marist continued to carry the momentum into the second half as Gutengerger knocked in her fourth goal of the game and Trotta added her second to widen the Red Foxes to a 10-5 lead. 

Niagara, however, began to claw their way back scoring three unanswered goals and keeping the Red Foxes scoreless for the remainder of the quarter. Junior attacker Riley Latray found Braniecki for her fourth goal of the contest and then junior midfielder Andra Savage. Senior midfielder Rachel Crane finished the quarter off to close the gap for the Purple Eagles with a score of 10-8 still in favor of the Red Foxes. 

In a crucial fourth quarter, the Red Foxes answered back with a pair of goals from none other than Trotta and Gutenberger. This goal was Gutenberger’s fifth of the day and her 40th of the season.  

“Kerri and I have had some conversations just about having her let loose on the field,” said Wilkinson. “She is such an offensive threat and there are even times that even after a good game I think that she could push herself more. 

“We just talked about how teams have players that are pushing their own boundaries as individuals are able to push those around them. Her game along with some others on the team like Miranda, (Kelly) Trotta, and Olivia who had a great game too, they elevate the rest of the team that are so hungry for that win as well and it is so inspiring to see.”

However, the Purple Eagles did not lighten up as a pair of goals from Crane and another from Savage turned the score to the final 12-11 and got the Purple Eagles to be down just one goal with just over a minute remaining. However, after a critical draw control, the Red Foxes held on to secure the 12-11 victory. 

Braniecki led the way for Niagara with four goals, Crane followed behind with three, and Savage and Brill added two apiece while Gutenberger led the way for the Red Foxes with five goals, while Trotta followed behind with three. 

In the net for the Purple Eagles, freshman goalkeeper Katie Ling finished the day with eight saves. Freshman defender Sydney Huhtala led the way defensively with five ground balls while Brill finished with two.

Defensively for Marist, sophomore defender Sophia Georgopoulos and junior midfielder Delany Hayes led the way with three ground balls, while senior defender Ashely Potter tallied on two. 

Junior goalkeeper Miranda Lopes finished the day with a career-high 16 saves. She was the key difference maker for the Red Foxes today, especially down the stretch when Niagara almost turned things around in their favor. 

“Coming into this game we all just had such vengeance, especially after our record last year. We came back and were watching film and picked out everything we possibly could to know how to beat them and what to do. I watched probably five hours of film on the top shooters to get ready and get myself in the right mindset,” said Lopes.

Marist will look to continue this two-game win streak as they face Mount St. Mary’s, their next MAAC opponent on the schedule, on Saturday, April 15 at 1 p.m. at Tenney. 

“We just want to take everything that we did well today and make that even better. Anything that we messed up on today, whether it was individually or as a team, we are going to try and fix that to our best and continue this mentality we have which is, ‘Why not us?’ That is a big thing this season our coach has instilled and we are going to keep going with that, because why not. No one expects it but we’re here and we’re going to do it,” said Lopes.

Edited by Jonathan Kinane

Photo from Kira Crutcher

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