By Corey Pollnow
In their first ever trip to the NEC tournament, the Central Women’s Lacrosse tteam suffered a devastating 11-10 loss in the semifinals to Bryant on Saturday, which ended their season. CCSU finished the season with a 7-2 record in conference play and 9-9 overall.
It appeared as though the Blue Devils would be victorious when they went up 10-8 with 12 minutes remaining in the second period on a goal from Elyse Malecki, but that would be Central’s final goal of the season. Kimberley Sniffen scored her fourth goal of the game with 9:24 remaining to bring Bryant’s deficit to one and Lisa Vandel scored the game tying goal with five minutes left. With the game tied at 10-10 with five minutes remaining, Bryant’s Lisa Vandel crushed CCSU’s hope when she scored the game winner to propel the Bulldogs to the championship versus Monmouth.
Central’s Falynn McCartney scored just before halftime and Central trailed at halftime by two. In the second half CCSU opened up with goals from Amanda Toke and Claire Healy to tie the game at seven apiece. Later in the game Toke would score her second goal of the game to give Central a 9-8 lead.
Goalkeeper Morgan Tullar accumulated 13 saves on 24 shots and finished the season tied for second in conference play with a 7.78 goals against average as well as a .50 save percentage which also placed her at second overall. Tullar and Cierra Ward were placed on the NEC all tournament team for their defensive efforts in the semifinals.
Central’s Healy scored two goals and finished the season with 21 goals and seven assists. Toke scored two goals to tally 28 goals for the season and seven assists.
Malecki, a freshmen, finished third on the team in goals with 24 and three of the team’s five top scorers will be returning next season as the lacrosse team will look to continue their success under Coach Kelly Nangle.
Kimberley Sniffen led the Bulldogs with four goals on nine shots and Haley Bloom, Katherine Keckeisen and Vendel scored two goals each.
Monmouth topped Bryant 9-7 to earn their second straight championship and earned one of the 26 bids to the NCAA tournament.
Despite ending the season on a four game losing streak, the team clinched their first berth in school history to the NEC tournament. Since Nangle has taken the reins as head coach, the team has vastly improved with back to back winning records in the NEC and the Blue Devils set a school record with seven conference wins in 2013.
Prior to being hired by Central, Nangle served as an assistant coach at Rutgers where she was in charge of the defense and finished second in goals against average in 2011. CCSU’s defense finished the season with a 7.78 goals against per game which earned them second overall in the conference.