The Elizabethtown College women’s lacrosse team was well on their way to having yet another winning season as they entered into MAC conference play last week. With a record of 7-3 and one conference victory under their belt against Lycoming College on April 5, the Blue Jays look forward to continuing their winning streak against their upcoming opponents.
The team’s next match pitted them against arch rival and nationally ranked Messiah College. The Falcons came into the game hot with a record of 8-2 overall and were already 2-0 in conference play, but this did not stop the Blue Jays from getting off to a great start against their conference foes. Junior midfielder Kara Solesky came out ready to battle, scoring a hat trick in the game’s first 25 minutes of play.
The game seemed to be more like a chess match in the first half, as both teams mirrored the play of one another in terms of goals and defense. Only six goals were scored in the game’s first 20 minutes. When the first period whistle blew, the score was tied at 5-5.
The second half of the game began just as the first half ended, with both teams matching one another goal for goal. First-year Andrea Russo continued her great rookie campaign, scoring her tenth goal of the season to help the team regain the lead.
Though the Blue Jays put up a valiant effort, in the end the Falcon offense was too much for Etown, as the team fell to the number 9 ranked team in the country 13-10. Though the game ended in defeat, it was not without hard play by the team.
Solesky, who tied her career-high in goals with four, talked about her contribution to the team’s play and the overall effort of the team: “It was the game we had been waiting for all year. We had a chip on our shoulder from last year, and we wanted to show how hard we have worked and how much we have improved. We will continue to improve and hopefully come out with a win next time we play them.”
The Blue Jays had little time to worry about the loss as they headed to Reading, Pa. to face yet another conference opponent and first-year team, Albright College. From the first whistle, the Blue Jays came out ready to play. Goals were not hard to come by for the Blue Jays as they were up by eight goals before the Lions even netted their first.
The game was all but over at the end of the first half as Etown dominated all facets of the contest. Senior captain Katie Scheurich, junior Becky Porter, and first-year Caitlin Knight facilitated the Blue Jays’ offense, each scoring a hat trick in the contest.
Junior defender Sam Earle, who recorded a team-high five ground balls in the game, talked about the victory and how the team rebounded from the Messiah loss: “Even though it wasn’t one of our toughest games, it gave us an opportunity to work on coming together as a team as we get to the stretch run of the season.”
Continuing their momentum from Saturday, Etown hosted Alvernia University on Wednesday. The Blue Jays moved to 3-1 in the conference after the 17-6 victory. First-year Leigh Anne Flounlacker and junior Emily Butler led the offense with a hat trick each. Nine different players contributed goals in the effort, and the Blue Jays were able to limit Alvernia’s leading scorer, Sarah George, to just one goal.
On the defensive end, goalies junior Rachael Waldman and sophomore Shelby Bruno shared the net and saved six of Alvernia’s 13 shots. The efforts of a stingy Blue Jay defense and the full-field play from Etown’s attack both contributed to the small amount of shots the Crusaders took. Etown caused 10 turnovers in the game, and the 23 ground balls proved the Jays were the superior team in this match-up.
The next game for the Blue Jays will be Saturday as the team heads down to Washington, D.C. to face the No. 16 Catholic University Cardinals at 3 p.m. The Blue Jays will have to find a way to staunch the scoring power of leading scorer Mary Swarthout, who has 44 goals this season, to be successful.