Tears stream after Senior Night spoil
Hunter O. Lyle—Sports Editor
Despite extensive efforts from the seniors throughout the entire game, the women’s lacrosse team was unable to pull out a win against Stonehill College, losing the closely fought game 15-12.
In the team’s last game of the season, during the midst of a seven-game losing streak which most recently saw a loss to nationally ranked Assumption College on April 24, the Owls were desperate to claim a final victory in front of the home crowd.
“It’s our last game of the season, so it wasn’t even just play for the seniors, but it was play for us on our last game ever stepping out on that field,” said senior goal keeper Alexandra Tackas. “I think we all brought it today. It just didn’t go in our favor.”
Out of the starting gates, the Owls were eager to be successful. After winning the first draw of the game, the team looked to control the pace, methodically and patiently passing around the perimeter while scanning the interior for cutting teammates. Senior attacker Samantha Cozzolino took action early and often, scoring her first goal just over three minutes into the match and again two minutes later after scooping up a loose ball.
While the Skyhawks responded early, Cozzolino’s offense, which included a hat trick and a dazzling dime in the first half, ran the score up 6-1.
The fire eventually simmered, and Stonehill battled back into the game by rugged transition defense and perpetual driving on offense. While the Owls remained scoreless for the rest of the half, the Skyhawks seized the opportunity and finished the first half in the lead 8-6.
“I think we were just off of excitement. We’re not the same team we used to be and I think we’ve proved that to all the teams we’ve played,” said Cozzolino. “Honestly, I think it’s just the confidence that we have. We always start really strong, but once they get two or three we kind of lose it a little.”
Coming out of the halftime break, Cozzolino continued on her mission of relentless effort, and after a quick score by junior attacker Morgan Chase, Cozzolino managed to bring the game back to even off a successful scoring drive.
For the rest of the game, the two teams kept it intense, with both the Owls and Skyhawks scoring tick-for-tack and neither team gaining an edge.
Although Cozzolino ended with another hat trick in the second, Stonehill was able to keep Southern at bay down the stretch and won 15-12.
“When we get the ball, and we’re a little underestimated, we go get goals. We’ve done that in a lot of games,” said head coach Kevin Siedlecki. “The thing is hanging onto that momentum for the whole game. You know, and we did that against [American International College]. I could just rattle them off the top of my head, we did that against a bunch of teams.”
Thanks to Tackas’ impressive work inside the crease, the Owls were able to lead the game in total saves 14-4. The Owls also lead the game in draw controls, 15-12, and tied with Stonehill College in free position shots, with eight a piece.
After the game, both coaches and players were choked up and teary eyed as they faced the end of their season. Siedlecki said the three seniors on his team, Cozzolino, Tackas, and defender Brianna Grande, meant the world to not only the players on the team, but to him as a coach as well.
“These three, I mean, they’re the reason I’m here. Their determination; I mean [Cozzolino] is so positive and she just believes in team and believes in sport and believes that tomorrow’s going to be a better than today, and that manifested itself in this team everyday with her leadership,” said Siedlecki. “[Grande] is an absolute determined athlete. Our trainer says she physically should not be able to run as fast as she does because of her hamstrings—she has tight hamstrings— but Bri does not know or care about that and she runs faster than she should be able to as far as medical science is concerned.”
Siedlecki also said that while Tackas does not play a ton, the work she does from the sidelines definitely boosts the team.
“She took charge of the girls on the sideline. That’s why we got so much better on the field,” said Siedlecki. “When you have only three or four girls on the bench, there’s a lot that can go wrong with that…Alex came in and wanted to talk about what she could do on the sidelines.”
While Southern lacrosse will move on without Cozzolino, she says she thinks the program can only improve.
“I’m excited. I’m really, really excited to see what [Siedlecki’s] going to do for this program,” said Cozzolino. “If you were to watch a game from us playing last year, to us playing this year, we have way more underclassmen on the field but we look way better as a team. We play a lot better just from his strategies and his play style.”
Photo Credit: August Pelliccio