Women's lacrosse falls to No. 18 Stonehill, 12-8, despite strong second half

Women's lacrosse falls to No. 18 Stonehill, 12-8, despite strong second half

EASTON, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's lacrosse team fell to No. 18 Stonehill College, 12-8, on Thursday evening in W.B. Mason Stadium, playing its second nationally-ranked opponent to a close decision in the past six days. The Purple Knights are 3-9 overall and 2-9 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Skyhawks are 9-5 and 8-3. Stonehill's national ranking is according to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA).

Saint Michael's, which played for the second time in three days and only lost to 12th-ranked University of New Haven by a 12-7 count last Saturday, outscored the homestanding Skyhawks 7-5 in the second half. That was the most goals allowed by Stonehill in the second half of a home game in more than a year, since eventual national runner-up Adelphi University tallied eight markers on March 22, 2016.

Senior Paige MacKinnon (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) turned in a hat trick, five ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers for the Purple Knights, while sophomores Ellie Clark (Smithsburg, Md./Mercersburg Academy) and Alex Vincent (Rush, N.Y./Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women) both scored twice. Clark notched a pair of draw controls, while first-year Kaelyn Oliver (Canton, Conn./Canton) also tallied.

Senior Grace Gunning (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) came within one save of her career high for the second straight game by stopping 15 shots in addition to notching four ground balls and one caused turnover. Junior Ashley Dineen (Somers, N.Y./Canterbury School) registered three ground balls, sophomore Annie Martin (Mattapoisett, Mass./Bishop Stang) collected three draw controls, and junior Kealy Moyna (Yonkers, N.Y./The Ursuline School) totaled two ground balls, two draw controls and an assist. Classmate Susie Ellicks (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) turned in two ground balls and caused a turnover from her spot on defense.

Seniors Shannon Booth and Elizabeth Vetter led five Stonehill multi-goal scorers with three goals apiece, and first-year Bailey Grant made four saves.

Stonehill possessed for the first 5:14 of the game, winning the opening draw before using three ground balls to keep possession and ultimately score the first marker at 25:48 of the initial stanza thanks to first-year Jennifer Wheaton. Booth deposited a free-position goal 1:02 later, but neither team scored again until 11:05 remained, when the Skyhawks tallied the first of two markers in 3:03 to take a 4-0 edge.

Vincent's man-up strike put the visitors on the board at 5:51, but three Skyhawks scored in a late 1:20 span to put the hosts up 7-1 heading into halftime. First-year MacKenzie Pleshaw's eight-meter goal at 24:43 of the second stanza extended the lead, but Saint Michael's countered with seven of the final 11 tallies. MacKinnon scored twice in a matter of 2:23 before Oliver struck at 14:38 to make it 8-4, and the visitors twice countered Stonehill goals to remain within four, as Vincent's free-position goal hade the Purple Knights down 10-6 with 6:33 to go. However, two Skyhawks tallied 40 seconds apart to put their team back up by six at 3:53. Clark and MacKinnon both scored in the final 60 seconds.

Saint Michael's visits Bentley University next Wednesday at 7 p.m.