March 7, 2013

Wagner Beats Howard, Off to Best Start Since '01

from press release

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Reigning Northeast Conference Player of the Week Annie O'Connor (Syracuse NY/ Westhill) and freshman midfielder Casey McCarthy (Cypress, TX/ Cy-Fair) scored four goals apiece while sophomore attacker Jessica Mills (Vernon, NJ/ Vernon Township) distributed six assists to power the Wagner women’s lacrosse team to a 16-6 victory over Howard amid intermittent snow flurries at Hameline Field.

With the win, Wagner improves to 4-1 on the season, the program’s best five-game start since 2001. The Bison, who were led by Courtland Lackey’s four goals, fell to 0-6.

With Wagner on top 4-2 following a goal by senior attacker Erika Bulken (Baldwinsville, NY/ C.W. Baker) on a free-position shot, O’Connor gave the Seahawks some separation by sinking a pair of goals within a 1:31 span to expand the Wagner lead to 6-2. The first of those markers came at the 15:56 mark on a free-position shot. The second came when Mills, positioned in her playmaking role behind the goal, hit a cutting O’Connor on a pretty, bang-bang play.

Freshman midfielder Taylor Pastore (Baldwinsville, NY/ C. W. Baker) closed the first-half scoring on an unassisted goal at 3:24 to give the Seahawks a 9-4 cushion. Wagner then put the game out of reach at the outset of the second half, scoring three unanswered goals, by Mills, Pastore and McCarthy, in the first 8:53 of the stanza, in building a commanding 12-4 lead.

After Cynthia Smalls briefly stemmed the tide with a Howard goal at 19:42, the Seahawks rattled off three straight goals to make it a 15-5 game en route to the 16-6 win. The goal-scorers in this 3-0 Wagner run, with all three tallies coming on assists by Mills, were O’Connor, freshman midfielder Gretchen Fay (Manasquan, NJ/ Manasquan) and senior attacker Jillian Maloney (Mahopac, NY/ Mahopac).

Statistically, Wagner held a sizeable 34-18 advantage in shots, and led in ground balls 26-21, while winning 17-of-24 draw controls. The Seahawks were 50 percent on free-position shots, sinking 4-of-8 while limiting the Bison to 2-of-11 shooting in this category.

In goal, freshman Katie Ferraro (Owings Mill, MD/ McDonogh) made two saves while playing the first 42:18 of the game in improving her season record to 3-1. Sophomore Shannon Sweeney (Madison, NJ/ Madison) played the game’s final 17:42 between the pipes for the Green & White, and recorded four saves while allowing just one goal.

For Mills, the six assists are a career high and she is now far and away the team-leader in points with 27, on 11 goals and a team-best 16 assists. The four goals by McCarthy, who is quickly making a name for herself, were a career high and give her  with a team-high 12 goals. Along with two assists, McCarthy now has 14 points, good for second on the team. O’Connor, who has only seen action in three of Wagner’s five games, is up to 12 points on 10 goals and two assists while Pastore is the fourth Seahawk in double-digit scoring, with 10 points, coming on eight goals and two assists.

The Seahawks have had two Northeast Conference Players of the week in the young season. Mills earned this award on February 17 after tallying six goals and assisting on three others in the previous day’s 21-2 season-opening victory over Delaware St. on March 2. O’Connor earned NEC Player of the Week distinction after blasting home five goals while adding an assist in carrying the Seahawks to 12-9 win over Siena on March 2.

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