Lacrosse upbeat despite loss to Le Moyne
Sam Tapper – Editor-in-Chief
When Kevin Siedlecki took the women’s lacrosse head coaching job in 2019, he began his program rebuild with simple goals: win a program-best five games and be competitive in each game. Despite losing 18-6 to the No. 3 nationally-ranked Le Moyne Dolphins, Siedlecki felt the progress was evident.
“Overall, our energy, our level of play was really elevated today,” Siedlecki said. “I was really pleased for 60 minutes, not just the first 10.”
Over the course of the first 10 minutes, the Owls looked poised to show they would not go down without a fight. They jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead over the third-ranked Dolphins behind goals from their core of attackers: Bayleigh Takacs, a junior, Karlie Rowe, a junior and Hailey Gordon, a senior.
Takacs, who had two goals total on the afternoon, put her squad on the board in the first two minutes of the game. Less than a minute later, she assisted on Rowe’s seventh goal of the year. Gordon’s goal gave the Owls their three-goal lead just five minutes into the game, the program’s largest lead ever over a ranked opponent.
Gordon has now scored a goal in her last 11 games, which ties the program record set by Rowe. Takacs has recorded a point in 10 straight games and Rowe has recorded a point in all 25 games of her collegiate career. With this talent on the attack, the players believe they can be a force down the line.
“I definitely think our attack is very dynamic,” said Takacs, one of the team captains, “I think that we have girls that are stronger with drives and stronger with feeds but overall everyone can do everything, and I think that’s such a threat for our opponents. I personally like to feed from behind, but also, I’m comfortable enough to take the drive and look for the outlets and the passes, like to Karlie. I think it shows how dynamic we are.”
The Dolphins answered back over the next four minutes, scoring two to cut the deficit to one, but midfielder Brianna Shaw, a freshman, countered with her first career goal to give the Owls a 4-2 lead 10 minutes into the game. From there, the Dolphins flipped the switch.
By the 17-minute mark, the Owls’ lead was gone completely, as Le Moyne tied it at four. Seconds later, the Dolphins took a 5-4 lead, an advantage they would keep for the final 45 minutes of play. Le Moyne scored eight straight goals to take a 12-4 lead into the half, and they were not done there.
While Takacs did throw in her second goal of the afternoon on a move, where she hit the ground, the Dolphins’ lead was 17-5 with under 15 minutes to go. Each team would score once more before the final horn, with Shaw picking up a yellow card in the final minute. With the loss, the Owls fall to 1-2 after losing in blowout fashion at No. 18 Pace earlier in the week; the Dolphins improve to 6-0.
It appeared to be a tail of two games for the Owls: the first 10 versus the last 50. However, Siedlecki said he “didn’t see a whole lot different.”
“I think that’s the greatest thing. A casual fan is going to see the scoreboard, ‘oh wow, they were right there for 10 minutes,’” said Siedlecki. “A couple shots didn’t fall, we hit some pipes. It was kind of like our Pace game – we’re right there. This is a much better team than Pace, [Le Moyne] blew Pace out just a week ago. And this was a much better game for us, we just had energy that I think is so important. I’m very, very happy with how today went. We made them work really hard.”
For much of the game, it was as if Le Moyne always had control of the ball. The Dolphins took 36 shots and had 29 shots-on-goal. Even though goalie Laura Morton was able to save 11 of them, a season high, there was no let up from one of the best offenses in the country.
“There definitely were not a lot of easy shots or anything,” Morton said. “Eventually they had to go to some different stuff, and definitely some forced shots, but they definitely put [me] under assault.”
The Owls’ schedule gets no easier moving forward, as they will host Pace in their next game, hoping to avenge their 20-7 defeat. Three of their final six games will be against ranked opponents.
“That’s the conference…we play against the best teams in the country,” Siedlecki said. “If we can win a league championship, we can win a national championship. And that’s not true of most places, we play in the best league in the country by far… we play the best teams week-in and week-out. That’s great for long-term building a competitive program.”
Photo credit: http://www.southernctowls.com