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Pioneers top Niagara, fall to UMass

By Erica Spessot
On March 14, 2012

The Sacred Heart University woman’s lacrosse team fought hard this past week as they faced tough competitors, Niagara University and University of Massachusetts.

The Pioneer women triumphed over Niagara 20-13, but fell to UMass 21-7.
On Friday afternoon, the Pioneers hosted the Purple Eagles in their first home game of the season.

“Niagara was a great game for us to see what we’re capable of accomplishing,” said freshman Taylor Babin. “We played as a unit and won because of this teamwork.”
It was true teamwork as seven different Pioneers scored multiple goals, putting up ten goals in each half.

Senior Alyssa Dorsey struck first for the Pioneers, and her teammates ran with it giving them a 5-1 lead by 18 minutes.

Niagara chipped into the lead, but it didn’t last long as the Pioneers scored four more goals, two from senior Aurelie Pluijmakers giving Sacred Heart a 9-2 lead with eight minutes remaining.

The Purple Eagles would cut the lead before the end of the first half, 10-6.

“Against Niagara I felt we had some up and down moments,” said senior Emily Pepe. “Offensively we had some good possessions and put up 20 goals, but we also had some unforced turnovers.”

Sacred Heart senior Kaitlin Rochler got her second goal of the game, followed by fellow senior Kate Kmiotek giving them a 12-6 lead. Rochler and Kmiotek would go back-to-back again with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Pepe made it 18-9 with only nine minutes to go.

The Purple Eagles couldn’t catch up, as the game ended 20-13 in the Pioneers’ first win of the season.

“Niagara was a good way to get our first win on the season and since we did win by a good amount. We got to go through some plays and get comfortable,” said Rochler.

Sunday’s game with UMass went a little different.

The Minutemen took a 3-0 lead in the first 7:18 of the game before the Pioneers could get on the scoreboard. Minutes later Kmiotek’s first off a feed from Pepe at the 19:12 mark put Sacred Heart back into the running.

UMass would go on to score seven straight over an 11-minute time span, grabbing the lead for the rest of the game. Babin stopped the run with her first goal at 5:41 to trail the Minutemen 10-2, but another three goals before the end of the half left Pioneers in a 13-2 slump heading into the second half.

The Minutemen started the second half strong, scoring seven consecutive goals at the 19:52 mark putting UMass up 20-2.

“Offensively when we had the ball, I feel we played a little scrambled and weren’t running our plays effectively,” said Pepe. “In the second half I think our defensive did a great job to help defense and cause turnovers, and as a team we were able to break their press and get some quick goals.”

The Pioneers scored five of the next six goals, with Babin and Kmiotek scoring their second goals of the day in the final 63 seconds of the game. It wouldn’t be enough, as time ran out and UMass took the win 21-7.

“Although we couldn’t come up with a win, I still think the team played with undeniable heart; we never gave up fighting,” said Babin.

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