Molloy spoils start of Siedlecki era
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
Lead by new head coach Kevin Siedlecki, the women’s lacrosse team lost their first game of the season in a tightly-fought match-up against Molloy College.
In the first game of the Siedlecki era, the Owls came out hot, scoring unassisted two goals in the game’s opening minutes before a heavy back-and-forth gave them a 6-5 lead at the half.
With the game all tied at eight midway through the second half, it started to look like the team was about to break away, with four unassisted and unanswered goals, starting with a score from senior co-captain Samantha Cozzolino, followed by offensive firepower from sophomore Hailey Gordon, and freshmen Karlie Rowe and Bayleigh Takacs.
In the end, the Owls were unable to compete with a fastpaced Molloy attack as they fell 14-12 in the season opener.
“It was a possession game,” Siedlecki said. “We were able to hold them but we won 10 draws, they won 18; that is what it comes down to. To only lose a game by two when that is the statistic is actually pretty tough to do. First half we did not win many draws; we turned it over way too much. Our offensive efficiency was great when we were settled but we lost way too many clears.”
Cozzolino and Gordon broke through the Lion’s defense early and often, notching a pair of hat tricks to lead Southern’s offense. Cozzolino also brought home career goal number 100 and powered into the record books as the fourth leading goal scorer in program history, with 102 successful shots, just three back of former Owl Carolynn Keal.
Cozzolino also brought home a career goal number 100 and powered into the record books as the fourth leading goal scorer in program history, with 102 successful shots, just three back of former Owl Carolynn Keal.
The team just seemed to slip apart late as the Lions went on a scoring spree and managed to put the game away in the late stages.
“They ran a six-goal lead and I think it just really killed our mentality, which is something we are really working on. We have always been a team that does not come back well from big runs on goals so we are really working on taking advantage. We have a very strong attack and a very strong defense; we really are just working on our transition [game],” she said.
The team had to adjust over the offseason with another change at head coach, the second in as many years, as Betsy Vendel departed for Central Connecticut State. Siedlecki, a former high school coach and teacher at Daniel Hand in Madison, was elevated from his role as the team’s second assistant coach to leading the show starting in January.
“He is awesome and he knows everything we need to work on. He is very structured and organized and it was a very smooth transition,” Cozzolino said. The team is young, with seven freshmen on the roster this season, and they have not played together a lot, having just one official scrimmage, against Wesleyan, a ranked Division III opponent.
“We saw a lot of good things but there is a lot we need to work on,” Siedlecki said. “We just need to learn to play a full 60 minutes — when we went on that four-goal run we won the draws and our attack was working really well but [Molloy] just completely dominated the game between the 30s and that’s a huge thing in lacrosse so we have to learn from it and get better.”
On Feb. 27, they go up against a tough LIU Post team that won 14 games last year and then Saturday they will face the New York Tech Bears, another team coming off a 14-win season.
“We just have to play every minute of every game our best. We need to play the way we are capable of for 60 minutes and we did today for 45,” said Siedlecki. “We have to play our game – it does not matter if it is LIU Post, it does not matter if it is NYIT, it does not matter if it is Assumption, Le Moyne — we are going to play our game the whole time and make every play.”
Photo Credit: August Pelliccio