By Corey Pollnow
The Central Women’s Lacrosse Team wrapped up the regular season at Arute field last weekend with a 5-4 loss to Mount St. Mary’s and a 9-7 loss to Monmouth to finish the season with a 7-2 record in the NEC and 9-8 overall.
Sunday’s game versus Monmouth was pivotal, with the winner of the game earning home field advantage for the entirety of NEC tournament. The Blue Devils registered a 5-3 lead versus Monmouth at halftime but couldn’t hold on in the second half, losing 9-7.
“There are 20 or 30 minutes a game where we aren’t playing well. We need to put 60 minutes of a game together.”
Claire Healy scored her 19th goal of the season with three minutes remaining in the second half to reduce the CCSU deficit to 8-7, but Monmouth’s Cassie Campasano would seal the victory for the Hawks one minute later on a free position shot.
Monmouth scored four unanswered goals to open the second half while holding Central silent for 22 minutes, until Mackenzy Ryan scored with eight minutes remaining in the game. Betsy Vendel, the team’s leading scorer had two goals in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second period.
Friday’s matinee versus Mount St. Mary’s ended in similar fashion to the Monmouth game. Central attempted to overcome a multiple goal deficit in the second period, but came up short, losing 5-4. Amanda Toke scored her 24th goal of the season with 1:37 left in the second half to reduce Mount St. Mary’s lead to one goal, but the women were unable to find the equalizer in the waning moments.
CCSU will enter the NEC tournament as the second overall seed and will take on Bryant on April 26 at 2:30 p.m. The winner will play in the finals on April 28 versus the victor of the Monmouth versus Mount St. Mary’s game.
Central’s previous matchup on April 5 versus Bryant ended in a thrilling last second victory for CCSU when Mackenzy Ryan scored with five seconds remaining in the game.
Coach Nangle has been pleased with the defense’s play and that is in large part because she employed a zone defense last season due to the team having difficulty matching up man to man with their opponents.
“It’s really difficult to run zone defense at the collegiate level,” said Nangle. “The whole defense from last season returned and the girls have owned it.”
Although the offense has struggled at times this season, Coach Nangle won’t be making dramatic changes heading into the post-season and said, “We may shake some stuff up, but really we have to execute the stuff we have in place and put the ball in the net.”
Prior to Sunday’s game versus Monmouth, the seniors – Ryan, Vendel, Caitlin Karner, Ali Roche and Amy McInerney – were greeted and honored by their family, friends and teammates.