Springfield, Mass. – March 5, 2009 – In her first game as the head coach of the Springfield College women’s lacrosse program, Regan Denham led the Pride to a 12-6 win over cross-town rival Western New England College on Thursday afternoon in non-conference action. Kaeleigh Lannan and Jenn Zubkus each netted a hat trick in the win.
In both squads' season opener, the Pride improved to 1-0 in 2009, while the Golden Bears dropped to 0-1.
WNEC struck first as Jeanmarie Barbato took a feed from Katie Toomy and bounced a shot past Springfield keeper Lauren McAulay 4:16 into the game. The Golden Bears tallied the second goal of the game just under four minutes later as Lindsey Fenton weaved through the Pride defense and found the back of the cage to give the visitors a two-goal advantage.
After Denham called a timeout after falling behind 2-0, Megan O’Brien took the ball past three defenders and found Zubkus in front of the cage. Zubkus made no mistake as she buried a shot for the Pride’s first goal of the 2009 campaign at the 21:37 mark. The Pride tied the game at two after Heather Dobson delivered a feed to Nicole Soucie on the crease off a free position attempt. Soucie slipped a shot into the back of the net, forcing a WNEC timeout.
With 10:25 on the clock, Springfield took its first lead of the game after Lannan netted a free position shot, giving SC a 3-2 advantage. The visitors would not go away as they tied the game up just over two minutes later after Fenton used a terrific spin in traffic to get free and score her second goal of the contest.
Springfield’s offense started to pick up in the final minutes of the first half as the Pride pumped in three unanswered tallies in the last 2:39 to take a 6-3 lead at the half. Zubkus tallied a pair of strikes to pace the Pride attack, including a goal assisted by Dobson with just 25 ticks remaining.
The Pride tallied the first three goals of the second half as Erin Doolan recorded a goal off a free-position shot and Jackie Moscardelli found the back of the cage twice as SC extended its lead to six, 9-3.
Over the next 3:33, WNEC poured in three goals as Liz McRoberts, Michelle Thompson, and Fenton all scored to cut the Pride's lead to three.
However, Springfield was too strong down the stretch as SC scored the final three goals of the game en route to the 12-6 win. Dobson scored Springfield's last two goals of the game, including the final goal with 52 seconds left. Dobson took a feed from Moscardelli and beat WNEC goalie Marissa Bonitatibus with a backhanded shot into the back of the net for her second goal of the game.
For the Pride, Lannan and Zubkus each tallied three goals and an assist in the win, while Moscardelli added two goals, an assist, four caused turnovers, and three ground balls in her first collegiate game. Soucie tacked on five draw controls, while Alexandra Bazzano notched six ground balls and four caused turnovers. McAulay needed to make just five saves in the win.
WNEC was paced by Fenton's three goals, while Thompson added a goal and an assist. Nicole Poli, who led the country in caused turnovers last season, tallied six caused turnovers in the loss. Bonitatibus was terrific in goal as she made 22 saves between the pipes, including 14 in the first half. For the game, Springfield outshot WNEC, 44-16, while WNEC had 42 turnovers in the game.
Springfield returns to action on Saturday afternoon when it travels to take on Buffalo State. The game will be played at a neutral site, Union College, and will start at 4:00 pm.