May 9, 2013
For the women’s lacrosse team, reaching the NESCAC semifinals in their second year competing in the most competitive conference in Division III is a respectable achievement in and of itself. The Continentals accomplished just that last week, upsetting third-seeded and No. 8 Bowdoin (13-3, 8-2 NESCAC) with a final score of 10-9 on April 27.
The win over Bowdoin set up a pivotal match with undefeated Trinity (17-0, 10-0 NESCAC), the defending champion team of both the NESCAC and the NCAA, not to mention the number one team in the nation. The Bantams had already defeated Hamilton 8-4 on April 20 at Steuben Field this season. Despite this defeat, Hamilton’s defense was strong in this game, holding Trinity to its fewest goals in a game all season.
During the game against Trinity, Shea Kusiak ’14 put up two unassisted goals in the first four minutes of the game to open up an early lead for the Bantams. Hamilton’s Kathryn Maiorano ’14 soon countered with a goal in the fifth minute on an assist by Lauren Brady ’14. After a foul, Rachel Friedman ’13 tied the score to two apiece with a goal from a free position shot in the tenth minute. However, this early success for the Continentals would not last long.
Over the next 17 minutes, Trinity responded with a barrage of seven unanswered goals, including two from Megan Leonhard ’13, putting the game out of reach at 9-2. Turnovers were especially important during this part of the game, as Trinity capitalized on a Hamilton turnover for each goal. In comparison, the Continentals failed to take advantage of six Bantam turnovers in the first half. However, first-year Caroline McCarthy eased the pain of the seven-goal lead with a goal two minutes before halftime on an assist from Friedman.
In the second half, Trinity’s Megan Leonhard ’13 scored her third goal of the game on an assist from sophomore Molly Cox to bring the Bantam’s lead of seven goals back to the scoreboard. Despite Trinity’s large lead, Hamilton did not give up throughout the second half. Two goals from Katie D’Antonio ’14, and one each from McCarthy and Ashleigh Stephan ’15 in the second brought Hamilton’s total to seven.
However, Trinity’s strong offense was too much for the Conts as they scored four goals in the second half to win 13-7. Pivotal parts of the game included ground balls, which Trinity controlled 19-10, as well as shots on goal, in which Trinity had a controlling 27-12 advantage throughout the game. Hamilton goalie Dewi Caswell ’14 stopped nine of these shots, but the Trinity offense proved too much as thirteen of them found the back of the net.
Trinity completed their defense of the NESCAC title with a 8-7 overtime win against No. 3 Middlebury in the championship game. The Bantams earned the top seed in the NCAA tournament and will face Montclair State in the first round on Wednesday, May 8.
Despite the loss, Hamilton’s lacrosse team can hold their heads high after a 9-8 season (4-4 NESCAC) against tough competition that resulted in a NESCAC semifinal appearance for the second straight year. They also finished the season ranked No. 17 in the nation. With only four graduating seniors, the team is primed for another successful season next spring.