By Corey Pollnow
Last weekend the Central women’s lacrosse team improved to 7-0 in the NEC standings (9-5 overall) and earned its first berth into the NEC tournament with victories at Wagner and LIU Brooklyn.
Friday, the Blue Devils defeated Wagner 11-9 and Sunday they beat LIU Brooklyn 18-8. Betsy Vendel, a senior, combined to score seven goals on 11 shots in the two games and leads Central with 29 goals and 45 points for the season. She also leads the team with 35 draws won and has four game winning goals.
“We went into this weekend focused on winning both games and clinching [an NEC tournament berth],” said Head Coach Kelly Nangle. “Now next weekend we have the opportunity to win and host the NEC tournament.”
With 11:35 remaining in the second half versus Wagner, Falynn McCartney scored to tie the game at nine apiece. Betsy Vendel scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to propel CCSU to its sixth conference win. Nangle was pleased with the comeback victory and said, “We were down a lot of the game. We came back, fought through it and got the win.”
Claire Healy finished the game with a hat trick and Nangle says she’s pleased that Healy has stepped her game up recently.
“She’s a junior and the last few games she’s been playing a lot smarter and it’s perfect timing,” said Nangle.
Mackenzy Ryan and Elyse Malecki scored hat tricks in a game CCSU won with relative ease versus LIU Brooklyn. Morgan Tullar had 10 saves on 18 shots and remains atop the conference in goals against average – 9.02 – and save percentage – 47. Although Central won by 10, Nangle said there is always room to improve.
“We’ll be looking to clean things up. Both the games this weekend weren’t necessarily the prettiest games and were looking to improve every day,” she said.
Central’s defense looks to continue its streak of playing well by breaking up its opponent’s possession by forcing teams into long possessions and then moving out quickly in transition to capitalize on its run-and-gun style of offensive play.
In their most successful season ever, the women are on an eight-game winning streak and are tied with Monmouth for first place in the NEC standings. They’ve persevered through injuries through the entire season and will close the season out with a two game home stand versus Mount St. Mary’s on Friday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at noon versus Monmouth. If the Blue Devils win against Monmouth, the NEC playoffs will be hosted at Central.