Wednesday, March 13, 2019

No. 22 Women’s Lacrosse Tops No. 20 Scranton 12-10 in Spring Break Opener

Recap, photo courtesy of Ithaca College
SCRANTON, Pa. – The 22nd-ranked Ithaca College women's lacrosse team was back in action on Sunday afternoon when it kicked off Spring Break week with the first of two nationally-ranked matchups on the road at No. 20 University of Scranton. Coming off a disappointing contest that saw a late lead slip away in an 11-8 defeat to 15th-ranked SUNY Cortland, Sunday represented another opportunity for Ithaca to pick up a quality non-league win to its early-season resume. The Bombers did just that, edging the previously undefeated 20th-ranked Royals in a back-and-forth 12-10 thriller. The win improves IC's record to 2-1 on the year.

Picking up victories over nationally-ranked foes had been an elusive task for IC dating back to last season. Despite amassing 14 wins during the year a season ago, it was that lack of true "resume" wins that ultimately left the Bombers on the outside looking in to the 2018 NCAA Tournament. With a second chance to secure a true statement win against a Scranton team that entered the day with an impressive 4-0 record to start to the season, the Bombers did not blink on the road against the challenging foe. Rediscovering their attacking rhythm, the Bombers blitzed the Royals for 12 goals, while it put the clamps on Scranton's dynamic attack in holding the Royals to a season-low 10-goal output.

It was junior attacker, Bailey Herr, that again paced the Bombers offensively on the afternoon. She
continued her torrid start to the 2019 campaign, racking up a six-point outing with five goals and one assists. The monster day brought the third-year talent's season totals to 15 points on eight goals and seven assists through three contests.

Two other Bombers record multi-goal outings behind Herr. Senior attacker, Elizabeth Rice, kept her hot start going with a season-high four-goal effort on Sunday, which also brought her goal total for the season to eight. Senior midfielder, Erin McGee, also delivered her first multi-goal outing of the season with a pair of scores. Sophomore midfielder, Jacqui Hallack, registered the other goal for the Bombers.

Four other Bombers recorded points on the afternoon. Senior captain, Allie Panara, continued to be IC's primary distributor rather than a scorer on Sunday. She delivered her best outing of the young season with a three assists. Senior attacker, Danika Wagener, also chipped in one apple on the afternoon, while the defense also got in on the act with senior, Reid Simoncini, and junior, Becky Mehorter, each adding one helper.

Defensively, it was Simoncini that terrorized the Royals all afternoon. She registered half of Ithaca's 12 caused turnovers on the day, forcing a career-best six Scranton miscues, while also collecting three ground-balls and a team-best three draw controls. Wagener chipped in two caused turnovers, while sophomores Hallack, Indira Varma, Rachel Rosenberg and Molly Nodiff each added one on the day. Rosenberg added a game-high four ground-balls, while Nodiff posted three grounders and Hallack and Mehorter added two apiece.

Sophomore Mackenzie Schade turned in a strong outing in the IC cage to earn her second career victory. She registered nine saves against the Royals talented attack.

Although it was Scranton that jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Christine Olert's unassisted icebreaker 4:12 into the game, the Bombers struck for three goals over the following 6:03 to pull into the lead. Rice got things going for IC with her first of the day 55-seconds after Olert's goal to tie things up at 1-1. McGee pushed Ithaca ahead 2:22 later, finishing off a slick feed from Wagener to make things 2-1. Herr capped the Ithaca surge with 19:45 remaining in the half, using a power move to leverage position into the slot, before wiring a shot past Scranton keeper Erin Putnam.

After Scranton's Elena Gallo closed the IC advantage to 3-2 55-seconds after Herr's goal, the Bombers again struck for some quick-strikes to widen the Ithaca advantage. Hallack re-upped the two-goal lead when she scored off the rush with Ithaca working on a woman-up advantage. Rice added her second of the day with 13:38 to go, while Herr also capitalized on a woman-up opportunity with 11:10 left to stretch Ithaca's lead to 6-3.

The Scranton attack punched back down the stretch of the first half. The Royals erased Ithaca's lead with a three-goal run that spanned the final 6:28 of the first half and the opening 41-seconds of period two. When Shannon Warburton rifled home her second of the afternoon, the score read 6-6 with 29:19 left in the contest.

The Bombers swung momentum back in their favor with some smothering defense, while the upperclassmen shouldered the attacking load to pull back ahead. McGee finished off a Panara feed to put Ithaca back ahead 7-6 with 22:33 to go. Rice followed with an unassisted score less than two-minutes later to widen the advantage, while Herr capped the run with a transition goal sparked by a great play by Simoncini.

Rice fired home her fourth of the afternoon to maintain the IC momentum with a little over 17-minutes left, while Herr struck for back-to-back goals over a 2:04 span to stretch the Bombers advantage to its widest margin at 12-8 with 7:57 to play. Although the Royals would claw back into things with a pair of goals by Jill Henson it would be too-little-too-late for the Royals. Ithaca saw out the final 56-seconds of regulation to preserve the win.

Ithaca returns to action on Thursday, March 14, when it continues Spring Break with a neutral-site battle against top-ranked and two-time defending National Champion Gettysburg. The contest will be played at the U.S. Lacrosse Headquarter's Tierney Stadium in Sparks, Maryland. Start time for the contest is 5:00 p.m.

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