by Sean Begin
Despite scoring the first goal of the game and playing well enough defensively, the Central Connecticut women’s lacrosse team dropped their home and season opener 14-8 to La Salle University on Saturday.
“We started off pretty strong. I think the first half was solid for us,” said head coach Laura Campbell. “Defensively things looked pretty solid. There were just some lapses here and there and La Salle did a good job capitalizing on it.”
The Blue Devils (0-1, 0-0 NEC) scored the first point of the game with 24:07 left in the first half on an unassisted goal from senior captain Claire Healy.
But the Explorers (3-0, 0-0 A-10) answered Healy’s goal with four straight over the next 12 minutes to take a 4-1 lead with 12:55 to go in the half.
The Blue Devils senior leaders responded to the La Salle run. Fellow captain Amanda Toke scored just 30 seconds after LA Salle’s fourth goal with an assist from Meaghan McCurry.
Forty seconds after that, McCurry pulled Central to within one, with a goal assisted by Healy. After a fifth La Salle goal, Healy scored again on a free position shot to make it a 5-4 game, the closest the Blue Devils would be the rest of the afternoon.
La Salle ended with half with two goals to take a 7-4 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“Transitionally I think we looked pretty good,” said Campbell of her team’s performance. “We were executing our clear very well and keeping the ball safe, getting it into our attacking end.”
Central opened the second half similar to the first, putting up the first goal to pull within two of the Explorers. But La Salle scored three straight and then four straight to put the game out of reach for the Blue Devils.
La Salle was led by Erin McCabe, who scored five goals for the Explorers and added an assist.
While the team played fairly well defensively – they beat our La Salle 16-8 on ground controls and went 8-9 on clears – the struggled with ground balls, 22-12 in favor of La Salle.
“What really was the problem today was ground balls. La Salle really dominated those today and that showed,” said Campbell. “We’re going to put a lot of focus into ground balls, making sure that we’re getting after them, fundamentally doing them correctly and coming up with them cleanly.”
While the team was only outshot by La Salle by two goals (25-23), Central failed to score when given the chance while La Salle made use of their opportunities.
“We’d get some looks inside and we’d be a little surprised and frantic and just shoot and not take a look at the net or throw a fake in,” said Campbell of the team’s shooting. “That’s probably what I’ll chalk it up to, first game jitters, and I think we’ll be in much better shape next game.”
Healy finished the game with three goals and an assist. Toke had a goal and an assist of her own while adding six draw controls, tied for a team high with sophomore Falynn McCartney, who also scored a goal. McCurry finished the game with two goals and an assist.
“There are little things on both ends that we do need to work on. And their little fixes, so that’s encouraging,” said Campbell. “Overall, I think it was a solid game and if we treat those little things we’ll be in better shape next game.”
The lacrosse team’s next game comes March 1 on the road against Hofstra University.