April 12, 2012

WD2 Notebook: Bentley's Big Three Taking Care of Business

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Junior Cori Geiger teams with classmate Taylor Bastien and senior Megan Wiggins to lead Bentley's potent attack.
© SportsPix

Her Bentley team had just withstood a late rally and scored the game-winner to defeat No. 11 Merrimack, 12-11, in overtime on Tuesday, but coach Carissa Medeiros' attention was focused elsewhere.

"I was watching our defense," Medeiros said. "I didn't even see the game-winning goal. I just wanted to be prepared for a stop. All of a sudden the defense started to sprint toward the attack line and I realized we'd won the game."

Medeiros focused on her defense because she had faith that her attack's big three, senior Megan Wiggins and juniors Cori Geiger and Taylor Bastien, would take care of the offense.

That faith was rewarded. Geiger scored off an assist from Wiggins just 62 seconds into the sudden death frame, giving Bentley (8-4 and ranked eighth in the latest IWLCA poll) its seventh win in nine games.

"The turning point [of the season] was when our attack started to step up," Medeiros said. "I said to the three of them, 'It's going to be up to the three of you. We can't win with just one of you. It needs to be all three for the rest of the season.'"

That's been the case. Three days earlier, in a big 13-11 win over No. 7 New Haven, Geiger scored twice and Wiggins scored once in the final four minutes to stretch a 10-9 lead to 13-9.

The trio is the forefront of a balanced Bentley attack that sees Geiger, Wiggins and sophomores Chelsea Larivee and Carolyn Kynoch atop the team leaderboard with 12 goals each. Bastien is right behind with 11 goals and a team-high 22 assists. Geiger (21) and Wiggins (16) have also hit double digit assists.

"In years past we've played OK but haven't really walked away with Ws," Medeiros said. "Our ability to do so this year is probably due to the fact that we have so much experience. Our strongest class is our junior class. We have a tremendously strong senior class as well."

That's the way it should be. While Larivee and Kynoch show the future remains bright for Bentley, the Falcons are finally enjoying success in the present.

Medeiros is in her fifth season as head coach. Before that, Bentley had gone through four coaches in four years. The juniors were her first recruits. The five-person senior class, all but one of whom were walk-ons, have benefitted from stability throughout their four years that didn't exist before.

Said Medeiros: "They've done a tremendous job building this program into a national powerhouse, which is hopefully what we'll be turning into in the next couple of years."

Bentley is on its way. The Falcons currently have the third-toughest strength of schedule in Division II, thanks to a wicked non-league slate that included Limestone, C.W. Post, Molloy, Dowling and Queens. All four losses have come against teams ranked in the top 6.

With a talented group of veterans, the benefits of playing a stacked schedule outweighed the risks.

"There could have been a conversation halfway through the season trying to explain why we're 4-5," Medeiros said. "I recognized that coming in. But it's not good enough to just win games. That's really going to trickle over. That's what the freshmen and sophomore class is going to need. They're gonna draw back on these games."

Bentley plays a NE-10 contest at Assumption (4-7) Saturday, before wrapping up its non-league schedule at Queens (N.Y.) the next day. A home game against No. 2 Adelphi (10-1) looms after that.

C.W. Post Edges Queens

Last year Dowling made the ECC a two-team race. This season's emergence of Queens (6-2) should make the league even more competitive in the coming years.

No. 5 C.W. Post (9-1) slipped past the Knights, 10-9, last Thursday. C.W. Post led 10-5 with 12 minutes remaining, but Queens (6-2) scored the final four goals before the Pioneers held on.

Ashley Olen had three goals and an assist for C.W. Post. Kayleen Kelty led Queens with four goals.

C.W. Post kept rolling later in the week with wins over No. 11 Merrimack, 20-10, and St. Thomas Aquinas, 22-10.

Queens bounced back with a 14-12 win over Mercy on Tuesday.

C.W. Post is 4-0 in ECC play, but the league is not yet decided. Dowling (6-4) has shaken off its tough non-league start with ECC wins over Queens and Mercy. Molloy (5-6) is also unbeaten in ECC play and plays at C.W. Post on Saturday.

Limestone Locks Up Carolinas

Limestone took sole possession of first place in Conference Carolinas with a 20-12 victory over Pfeiffer on Thursday.

Pfeiffer (8-6) came in with a three-game winning streak and an unbeaten conference record, but Limestone (12-1) won its 10th straight game with ease. Sarah Oor had six goals and three assists and Racquel Prager had five goals and one assist to lead the Saints.

Pfeiffer bounced back with a 19-5 win over Erskine on Tuesday. Limestone heads to Erskine on Friday.

The Conference Carolinas Tournament begins on April 21.

Holy Family Ends Georgian Court's Streak Again

The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference received a shake-up this month as Holy Family defeated Georgian Court for the second time in two weeks, 17-14, on Tuesday.

On March 31, Holy Family (7-4) became the first team ever to defeat Georgian Court in a CACC regular season contest. Georgian Court had won 39 straight CACC regular season games. On Tuesday the Tigers became the first CACC team ever to beat Georgian Court (8-4) on its home field during the regular season.

Gina Mansi had five goals and one assist to lead Holy Family, which now has sole possession of first place in the CACC. Holy Family heads to its crosstown rival Philadelphia University (5-6) on Saturday.

Mark Macyk has covered Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.

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