Junior goalkeeper Rebecca VanLaeken made a career-high seventeen saves, and stopped 9-of-13 free position attempts, as the Canisius women’s lacrosse team lost to No. 2 North Carolina, 16-8, Sunday afternoon from the US Lacrosse Headquarters in Sparks, Md.
The Griffs trailed the defending national champions 9-2 at the half, after allowing an 8-0 run over 17:13 of play, but managed to cut the lead to five on four separate occasions during the second act of the game.
The Blue and Gold opened the game’s scoring with a free position tally from junior Lauren Smolensky, the team’s only lead of the contest, and then allowed the eight straight Tar Heel goals for an 8-1 deficit with 8:12 remaining in the first.
Canisius responded with an unassisted goal from sophomore Tessa Chad at 3:22, but North Carolina put away their ninth goal of the afternoon at 0:57 for a 9-2 halftime lead.
Out of the half, the Golden Griffins hit their stride, scoring the first two goals half (Erica Evans and Jen Reininger) and cut the North Carolina lead to 9-4 with 27:21 remaining.
The teams traded three goals apiece over the next 15:50, with Evans adding two additional markers and sophomore Jourdan Roemer netting her first of the game, to put the score at 12-7 with 11:31 left to play.
Chad had an opportunity to close the gap to four with a free position attempt at 10:15, but the chance was blocked before she was able to get off a clean shot.
From there, the Tar Heels regained momentum, scoring four of the games’ last five goals for the eventual 16-8 win.
With the loss, VanLaeken moves to 3-4 on the season, while North Carolina goalkeeper Caylee Waters is now 5-1.
Head Coach Scott Teeter’s Postgame Comments
“The girls played a great second half of lacrosse this afternoon and showed that they’re a resilient group. They knew they had to sure up some things out of the break and did an admirable job.”
“Rebecca had an exceptional game today against a quality opponent. She played with confidence and really kept us in the game. She had one of her best performances to date, and nearly broke our school record for saves.”
“I thought Erica really stepped up in the second. We challenged her at the half and she responded. She showed today that she can put up big numbers against any opponent.”
• VanLaeken was three saves shy of tying the Canisius single-game record for saves (20) held by Allison Daley.
• Evans led the Griffs with four goals, while also adding a ground ball and two draw controls.
• Evans recorded her 119th goal in the contest, tying her for seventh place on the Canisius all-time goal list with Chelsea Martinez.
• Freshman Rachel Ryan led Canisius with a career-high four draw controls.
• Ryan also recorded her first career assist, on Evans first goal of the day.
• Roemer was second on the team with two points, on a goal and an assist.
• Smolensky and sophomore Kayla O’ Connell led the team with two caused turnovers
• Smolensky was also tied for the team lead with three ground balls, with Reininger.
The Griffs return to Buffalo this week for a Wednesday afternoon matchup against Duquesne at 4 p.m. The Dukes are 0-2 to begin the year with home losses to Ohio State and Penn State, and will host Detroit Monday at noon.