BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College Women's Lacrosse Team downed Norwich University, 13-11, on Tuesday night under the lights at Roberto Clemente Field, stretching their win streak to seven games and completing a perfect undefeated regular season in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) competition.
The Saints and Cadets battled through wind-driven rain and downpours throughout the closely matched contest and Emmanuel pulled out the victory, improving to 11-2 on the season and a perfect 10-0 in the league. The Cadets fell to 6-4 overall and 6-3 in conference play with the loss. Emmanuel has been victorious in the past two meetings between these two programs, but Norwich leads the all-time series 3-2.
The Saints, who will be the top-seed in next week's GNAC Tournament, jumped out to an early one-goal lead just three minutes into the action, when rookie Abaigeal Merrigan (Rye, N.H.) scored off an assist from Sarah Higgins (Groveland, Mass.). The Cadets retaliated quickly, with Grace Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine) feeding Gina Conroy (Amherst, N.H.) at the other end just 20 seconds later.
Norwich then took command on a free position shot by Meaghan Albert (Lanesborough, Mass.), but the Cadets' lead was short-lived, as Madison Altwies (Southington, Conn.) found the back of the net for the Saints, tying the game at 2-all.
Fitzpatrick netted her first of six goals on the night to give the visitors another one-goal lead at 17:39, but Kristen Tuleja (Mansfield, Mass.) stuck consecutive free position shots to put the Saints back on top, 4-3, with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
The Cadets rattled off three unanswered scores, including two more goals by Fitzpatrick, before the momentum shifted back toward the hosts. Trailing, 6-4, the Saints fired in five goals in a five-minute span, including two from junior captain Sarah Wootten (Berlin, Md.) to surge back out in front, 9-6.
Norwich would score once more before the break, an unassisted tally from Fitzpatrick, but Emmanuel held a 9-7 lead at halftime. The evenly matched first half saw the Saints hold a 14-13 shooting advantage and the Cadets with a 16-15 margin in groundballs.
The two squads traded goals in the third minute of the second half to bring the spread to 10-7. Tuleja then drained her 44th goal of the season at 23:02 to put EC out in front, 11-8. Freshman middie Savannah Lundwall (Fiskdale, Mass.) tacked on another for the Saints, scoring on a free position shot with just over 22 minutes remaining.
Norwich got another run from Fitzpatrick, who scored twice to keep things close, as the visitors trailed 12-10 with 16:42 to go. Baylie Lamarre (Tyngsboro, Mass.) made it a one-goal game again with 9:40 on the clock and Norwich trailed 12-11. Emmanuel got one more score before it was over, when Tuleja found a cutting Wooten to give the Saints the 13-11 win.
Tuleja finished with 4 goals and 2 assists to lead the Saints. Wootten tallied a hat trick with a team-leading 5 groundballs, while Higgins netted 2 goals and dished out 2 helpers in the win.
Fitzpatrick finished with 7 points for Norwich, coming off of 6 goals and 1 assist, to go along with her game-high 7 groundballs. Lamarre added 2 goals in the effort.
GNAC Goalie of the Week Lauren White (Lynnfield, Mass.) picked up her 11th win of the season, making 8 saves for the Saints.
Senior goalie Irene Okubo (Chicago, Ill.) took the loss for Norwich, dropping to 4-3 overall, but making 5 saves in the effort.
Despite the loss, Norwich out-shot the Saints, 25-23, and owned a 27-23 advantage in groundballs.
With their 10-0 GNAC record, the 2014 Emmanuel Women's Lacrosse Team now joins four other Saints programs (women's tennis - '96, women's soccer - '07, women's volleyball -'03, and women's basketball – 12 times) as the only Emmanuel teams to post undefeated GNAC regular seasons.
The Saints have one final regular season non-conference game remaining. Emmanuel will travel to Framingham State University on Thursday evening (4/17) for a 4:30 PM start with the Rams. Norwich has one last GNAC contest. The Cadets will travel to Providence, Rhode Island to take on Johnson & Wales University on Saturday (4/19) in a 1:00 PM start.