Women’s Lacrosse Edges MCLA 12-11 for Home-opening Win

mel orrell scoops up the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Southern Vermont College got on its home pitch for the first time this season Monday afternoon as the Mountaineers were able to hold off Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for a 12-11 non-conference women's lacrosse win at Everett Field in SVC's home opener.

The hosts brought a tight 6-5 lead into the halftime break, and both teams then notched six goals in the final 30 minutes with Southern Vermont taking the last possession and running out the clock to secure the victory.

SVC improves to 5-2 on the year as the Trailblazers fall to 3-6. The Mountaineers are back at it on Tuesday with a 5 p.m. non-conference home game against Bard College while MCLA next gears up for a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference match on Saturday at Salem State University (1 p.m.).

The Mountaineers' win avenges a 14-13 overtime loss at MCLA last year, and it is the first for SVC in three all-time meetings with the Trailblazers.

Southern Vermont senior captain Lauren Nesshoever (Chittenden, Vt.) registered a match-best six goals while adding three draw controls and two ground balls on the afternoon. Fellow senior captain Mel Orrell (Gloucester, Mass.) followed with five goals, six ground balls, four draw controls and three caused turnovers, and she also assisted on a sixth score in the win. Sophomore Sofia Sorriento (Troy, N.Y.) tallied a team-leading seven ground balls and four draw controls while senior captain Emily Lesure (Cheshire, Mass.) had a goal and an assist.

Senior Natalie Caney (Belchertown, Mass.) led MCLA with four goals, and she also registered two assists, six draw controls, four caused turnovers, and a game-best 11 ground balls in the effort. Junior Mackenzie Cutler (East Amherst, Mass.) notched three goals, one assist, three draw controls and a pair of ground balls while sophomore Beatrice Lechler (Point Lookout, N.Y.) put up two goals, two caused turnovers, and five ground balls.

SVC junior Kristiana Goldup (Schuylerville, N.Y.) picked up the win from between the pipes—improving to 5-2 to already tie the program's single-season victory total for a goalie; she had 11 saves on the day. MCLA starting sophomore keeper Zoe Elwell (Clifton Park, N.Y.) made six saves in the first half before being replaced at the break; freshman Julia Coughlin (Wolfeboro, N.H.) took the loss (0-3) after making five stops in the second stanza and allowing the go-ahead goal.

In Southern Vermont's first game on natural grass this year, the Mountaineers barely edged MCLA in ground balls with a 40-39 margin. Both sides registered 30 shots on the day as the Trailblazers pulled in 13 draw controls to SVC's 12.

An illegal stick for Southern Vermont was detected during the pregame check—forcing the Mountaineers to start the game a man down; still, SVC was able to find the back of the cage during the penalty as Nesshoever potted her first of the day for the early advantage. Sorriento fed Lesure soon-after for the senior's 22nd goal of the year—only to see MCLA get on the board at the 24:26 mark with Caney's first of the game.

Caney would find Cutler for the equalizer, and Lechler put her team in front with 10:07 left on the clock off a pass from freshman Kim Granito (Glenmont, N.Y.). Orrell capitalized on a free position opportunity to tie it up, but the Trailblazers answered just 24 seconds later on a goal from junior Aleah Sangiovanni (Pittsfield, Mass.)—her sixth of the year making it a 4-3 edge for the visitors.

Sorriento won the ensuing draw, and Orrell took the ball before finding Nesshoever for the tying tally only 21 seconds after Sangiovanni's score. The 4-4 tally stood until Nesshoever put her team back in front with 4:35 on the clock, and Orrell added an unassisted score at the 1:41 mark for the two-goal upper hand. Cutler got one to go 35 ticks later, and neither side could put a shot on frame the rest of the half for SVC to go into the break on top at 6-5.

Southern Vermont extended it to a three-goal lead in the onset of the next period with Lesure assisting Nesshoever in the second minute of the half before Orrell scooped up a ground ball and put it into the back of the net. Caney had an answer just 20 seconds later to make it an 8-6 game, but Orrell and Nesshoever continued to beat the MCLA keeper with a pair of goals in 28 seconds of clock time.

The Trailblazers were able to even the score with four unanswered goals—the first being when junior Courtney Gabrus (North Bennington, Vt.) took a pass from Cutler and put it home for her seventh of the season. Cutler then made the most of a free position attempt for her 27th of the year, and Lechler tallied a man-up goal nearly five minutes later. Caney then recorded an unassisted tally at the 13:42 mark to make it a 10-10 score heading into the final stretch.

Orrell got one back just over a minute later for a small piece of insurance for the home team and her 26th goal of the season. SVC worked the clock in an attempt to hold the lead before Nesshoever pulled the trigger and scored her team-leading 30th goal of the year; that puts her just six shy of the top New England Collegiate Conference mark.

Almost four minutes ran off the clock before the next score came with Goldup making two saves during that time. The Trailblazers, however, took advantage of an SVC foul as Caney caught the restart and deposited a shot for her 24th goal of the year with 3:53 left to go in regulation.

With overtime looming once again, Southern Vermont tried to run as much time off the clock as possible while looking for open shots. Each team would get a look on goal in the final four minutes, but both were turned away as Coughlin saved a Nesshoever take after SVC junior Lexia Gillette (Pittsfield, Mass.) rejected a close MCLA shot with the top of her head. The Mountaineers forced the visitors to turn the ball over with 1:29 to go, and they ran out the clock to hold on for their fifth win of the year.