April 8, 2011

Bryant Holds Off Sacred Heart Rally

from press release

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University women's lacrosse team nearly squandered a seven-goal lead, but a Mary Green (Merrick, N.Y.) hat trick and strong defensive play from Lisa Vendel (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Nicole Rettinger (Dix Hills, N.Y.) kept the Bulldogs on top as they squeaked by league rival Sacred Heart for an 11-10 win Friday at home.

Green finished the day with four points, chipping in an assist to compliment her first hat trick of the season, while a pair of rookies in Katherine Keckeisen (Danbury, Conn.) and Lindsay Gilfeather (Pleasantville, N.Y.) netted two goals apiece to lead the Bulldogs (4-8, 3-2 Northeast Conference) offensively in the win. For Gilfeather, the tallies were the first of her career as the frosh earned her first collegiate start.

Four other Bryant players chipped in goals as well, but it was strong defensive play that may have really won the game for the Black and Gold after the Pioneers (2-9, 1-3) slowly climbed out of a seven-score hole to put the pressure on the home side.  Vendel, who also dished out two assists, created a game-high four caused turnovers with her aggressive play, picking up three ground balls, while Rettinger forced a trio of Sacred Heart miscues.

Bryant jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the opening 20 minutes of the contest, not allowing the Pioneers near the home net for much of the stretch. Tallies by Green bookended the run, as Jessica Ingrilli finally got Sacred Heart on the board at the 9:02 mark to start off a big day for the senior.

Keckeisen's unassisted goal a minute later moved the lead back up to seven, but the Pioneers would score twice in the final four minutes for an 8-3 halftime margin.

Out of the break, Sacred Heart crept even closer with back-to-back goals in the opening six minutes, including an Emily Pepe tally just 37 seconds into the frame to cut Bryant's lead to just three, 8-5. Pepe would have the biggest day of any player on the field despite the loss, registering six points including an impressive five helpers in the game.

The Bulldogs responded with two scores of their own, but the defense just couldn't contain Ingrilli and teammate Kate Kmiotek after, as the duo paired up with Pepe for four goals over the next eight minutes – the first two from Ingrilli and the final two from Kmiotek, assisted by Pepe – to get within one, 10-9, with 8:51 to play in the contest.

Green would complete her hat trick just 33 seconds later off a great feed from Vendel for what would prove to be the game winner, but the Bulldogs would have to hold on tight to that lead, as Alyssa Dorsey tacked on a 10th Pioneer goal with 4:37 showing on the clock.

A big draw control win from there allowed Bryant to wind down the clock, but the visitors would get one more crack at the equalizer after an unforced error by the Bulldogs. Sacred Heart couldn't convert with under a minute to play, though, as shots from Kmiotek and Shelby Vaccaro sailed wide and the Bulldogs held on for the 11-10 victory.

Both teams picked up 21 ground balls on the day, with Bryant edging Sacred Heart in draw controls, 12-11. The Pioneers fired off one more shot than the home side, 26-25, and neither team was particularly strong on the clear.

Goalie Lauren Filippone (West Babylon, N.Y.) made seven stops in net for the Black and Gold, while her counterpart Megan Pepe made four.

The Bulldogs return to action Sunday as they host league-leading Quinnipiac University at the Bryant Turf Complex at 12 p.m.

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