Big fourth frame helps Eagles eke out win over Owls

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Playing the first of two Virginia-based matchups over spring break, the Kenyon College women’s lacrosse team dropped a close contest at the University of Mary Washington. The Owls built momentum with a mid-game surge, but the hosting Eagles took over in the fourth quarter to clinch a 10-8 victory. 

No. 22-ranked Kenyon falls to 1-1 on the season, while UMW snapped a three-game skid to improve to 2-3 overall. The Owls took two more shots (31-29), made and earned one more free position shot (1-6 vs. 0-5), grabbed two additional ground balls (21-19), and nearly doubled up on the Eagles in draw controls (15-7). However, the home team took two extra shots on goal (25-23), was plus-two in the turnover (19-21) and caused turnover (13-11) battle, and committed two fewer fouls (7-9) en route to the upset win.

The Eagles landed the first punch and took control early when they opened the game’s scoring just over a minute into the bout. Neither team could get its offense going over the next 10 minutes, but Alex Tiatia ended the drought with an unassisted equalizer at the 4:36 mark. However, UMW only took a minute to reclaim its lead, and the Eagles jumped ahead 3-1 after two goals in 29 seconds.

Maddie Garner and Kate Lengel scored on either side of the quarter break to tie the game early in the second frame, but UMW managed to go back-to-back again to keep Kenyon from taking the lead. Lengel and Ali Hatfield helped the Owls trade goals with UMW in the second quarter, but the home team held a 6-5 lead heading into the locker room. 

Kenyon must have made the most of the halftime break as the Owls started the second half strong. Garner got a goal early in the period, and Lengel launched a shot that gave Kenyon its first lead. UMW called timeout after conceding two goals in under three minutes, and the break broke up the scoring stretch. The Eagles tied the game a few minutes later, but Lengel reinstated Kenyon’s lead after scoring a fastbreak goal following a UMW turnover.

The Owls outscored Mary Washington 3-1 in the third quarter and carried an 8-7 lead into the final frame, but the game was far from over. The home team completely flipped the script in the fourth, holding Kenyon scoreless and finding the back of the net on three occasions. UMW evened the score with a man-up goal in the first minute of the quarter, and Eagles goalkeeper Cailyn Tripp saved three Kenyon shots before the UMW offense scored again.

Lengel earned a free position attempt with about five minutes left, but Mary Washington blocked the shot that ended up being Kenyon’s last look. The Owls turned the ball over four times over the next four minutes, and UMW cemented its victory by scoring with 13 seconds remaining.

Tripp and Nola Garand each had 15 saves and posted save percentages of 60 percent or better. Lengel tied UMW’s Bridget Crowley for a game-leading four goals, but Crowley was more efficient by scoring in five shots compared to eight, and she led the game in points by adding an assist.

Senior defender Lauren Gilbert grabbed a game- and career-best five ground balls and her three caused turnovers tied Lily Mason for a team-high. Garner’s eight draw controls surpassed UMW’s team total, and the senior scored her season’s first two goals.

Kenyon will have a chance to get back on track in a big way in the team’s next outing as the Owls are set to take on No. 14 Roanoke College on Saturday, March 9. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. in Salem, Virginia.

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