Seven players score in lacrosse’s home opener blowout win
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
Coming off a two-win season, the Owls’ women’s lacrosse team is looking for more success in 2020, and in their opener at Jess Dow Field, they got the season going in emphatic fashion, routing Dominican College Chargers 22-4 on Sunday.
After the Owls went 2-15 in head coach Kevin Siedlecki’s first season at the helm a year ago, a season in which the Owls did not win their first game until March 21, the team’s goals, he says, are clear early on: first and foremost, get to five wins. And after game one, his squad is at win one, already halfway to last year’s win total.
“Last year, I think it was eight or nine games before a win,” Siedlecki said. “So now, we’re right on pace for that five-win goal, and we’ve got one under our belt. So, now four more out of 16 is the goal, and I think we can be better than that if we can really put things together and play with the confidence that we showed today.”
The Owls came out aggressive early on the attack, as they scored their first goal of the game less than a minute in, on a goal from attacker Hailey Gordon, a junior. The Owls and Chargers went neckand-neck for the first eight minutes, practically trading goals leading to a 2-2 tie. From there, the Owls scored four unanswered goals, two of which were from Gordon, giving her three in the first half. The run was capped by attacker and midfielder Caroline White, a freshman, who scored her first career goal giving the Owls the 6-2 lead.
Dominican answered back to make it a 6-3 game, but the Owls countered and never let up. Over the final 11:34 of the half, Southern went on an 8-1 run to take a 14-4 lead into halftime. In that final run of the half, midfielder Kelley Jagodzinski, a sophomore, and attacker Bayleigh Takacs, a sophomore, each scored three goals, giving the Owls a trio of players with hat tricks at the half.
“The score definitely speaks for itself; I think we performed as we should’ve,” said Takacs. “I think we, honestly, could’ve played a little cleaner in the first half – I think that was first game nerves, which happens, but we’re excited for the rest of the season.”
Takacs finished the day with a career-high four goals, while Gordon and Jagodzinski each had career-highs with five goals apiece. Midfielder Steph Seymour, a junior, also recorded three goals and two assists, giving the Owls four players with hat tricks.
Though the goals didn’t stop coming after the break, the story in the second half, was defense. The Owls held the Chargers scoreless in the second half, and were led by their goalkeeper Laura Morton, a junior, who stopped all seven of Dominican’s shots on goal in the second half. Overall, Morton made 11 saves on 15 Dominican shots on goal throughout the whole game.
“She’s a very strong goalie in this league, and she saves us,” Siedlecki said of Morton. “She’s one reason we can play some aggressive defenses because she is going to make that save, if the defense can force a bad-angle-shot she’s going to make the save. She’s even going to come out with a couple that she shouldn’t make. She’s that kind of goalie.”
The Owls closed out the game scoring eight unanswered goals in the second half on the way to the victory. In that run, attacker Julia Shapiro, a freshman, scored her first two collegiate goals, making her the first freshman to score multiple goals in the season opener since Samantha Cozzolino did so in 2016. The win serves as the Owls’ first opening day win since 2017. The four goals they allowed were the fewest on a season-opener in program history.
The Owls’ 22 goals on the afternoon tied their second highest scoring game in program history, coming one shy of their program record set in 2008 when they scored 23 against Franklin Pierce. The 18-goal victory was also tied for their largest win in program history. Their next game is on Wednesday at Jess Dow Field when they host Bridgeport. Though the entirety of the schedule remains, the Owls are going forward with confidence.
“It’s very much a confidence-booster,” said Gordon. “I think it kind of can set the trend for the rest of the season and this shows what we can do, what we’re capable of and what happens when you work hard.
Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo