March 15, 2009

Monmouth Beats 'Nova for First Win

from press release

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Monmouth University women’s lacrosse team defeated Villanova 15-12 to earn its first win of the season on Sunday afternoon at Kessler Field. The Hawks improve to 1-5 on the season, while ‘Nova falls to 1-4.

The Hawks were paced by freshman Caitlin Kelly’s (Mendham, N.J./West Morris Mendham) all-around performance, as she contributed four goals, six ground balls, four draw controls, two caused turnovers and an assist.

“We’ve continued to improve throughout the season,” said head coach Kelly Van Zile. “We played a full 60 minutes against Villanova and were rewarded with a win.”

The Wildcats scored the match’s first goal 28 seconds in to the contest when Julie Shelman took a feed from Erica Rybinski and found the back of the net. After Villanova added two more scores, Monmouth got on the board when Molly O'Brien (Kennett, Pa./Unionville) found Megan Brennan (King of Prussia, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) in front of the net for the goal to cut the lead to 3-1 with 27:27 left.

Monmouth inched to within a tally at 3-2 after Kelly scored her first collegiate goal off an assist from Carissa Franzi (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex). Kelly added her second career tally when she spun and scored in front of the ‘Nova net to tie the game at 3-3 with 15:24 left in the first half. Sophomore Rachel Feirstein (St. James, N.Y./Smithtown East) gave the Hawks a 4-3 lead with an unassisted goal with 14:38 to go before halftime.

Villanova knotted the contest at 4-4 after Rybinski weaved through the MU defense and scored with 13:12 left before intermission. The two squads then traded goals for the remainder of the half and they headed into intermission tied at 7-7.

Kelly continued where she left off in the first half, giving the Hawks an 8-7 lead with 26:37 left in the game with another goal. Brennan added to the MU lead when she scored off a shovel shot to make it 9-7 with 24:16 left in the second half. The Hawks added another tally when Franzi intercepted a pass from ‘Nova goalie Maggie Langan and fed Kelly for another goal, making it 10-7 with 20:45 left in the game.

After the Wildcats cut MU’s lead to 11-9, junior Perry DeWitt (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley) scored on a free position to boost the Hawks’ advantage to 12-9 with just over 12 minutes left in the match. ‘Nova again came back, this time on goals from Carly Miller and Rybinski to cut the lead to 12-11 around the 10-minute mark.

Freshman Sam Lillo (Short Hills, N.J./Millburn) scored her first collegiate goal to make the lead to 15-12 with 8.7 seconds left for Monmouth.

The Hawks outshot ‘Nova 29-22, including 14-8 in the second half. MU also snagged 22 ground balls, compared to 10 for the visitors, although the Wildcats logged 18 draw controls, compared to Monmouth’s 10.

Kelly ended the game with four goals, an assist, six ground balls and four draw controls, while Brennan added a pair of tallies, two assists and three ground balls. DeWitt added three ground balls and O’Brien contributed an assists and four ground balls. Senior goalie Monica Johnson (Radnor, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) made eight saves in goal to collect her first win of the season.

Villanova was led by Rybinski, who scored four goals and added two assists. Taryn McKenna added four goals and an assist and Miller contributed three goals and a helper in the loss.

Monmouth returns to action on Friday, March 20 when they begin Northeast Conference play by hosting Saint Francis University at 4:00 pm.

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