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Women's lacrosse starts season with 16 goal thriller

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Feb 26th 2019 09:00 pm
Senior attacker Heather Conklin scores a goal after firing a shot past the Buffalo State goaltender during the 2018 season. Conklin netted three goals in the 2019 season opener against Denison University.
Senior attacker Heather Conklin scores a goal after firing a shot past the Buffalo State goaltender during the 2018 season. Conklin netted three goals in the 2019 season opener against Denison University.

Starting a season on the right foot is the goal of any sports team, but doing so with an overtime victory against a nationally ranked and former NCAA contender is that much more special. The College at Brockport women’s lacrosse team kicked off the 2019 campaign by taking down Denison University, a powerhouse of an opponent who finished 17—2 during the previous season. 

Prior to the win over Denison, Brockport’s one chance to get game time in was taken away as a scrimmage against RIT was canceled due to weather. Yet, there was no sign of pre-season rust for Brockport as it fought for a 16-15 overtime victory. While the success story was over a non-conference game, the impact of coming out on top in a season opener as the underdog can’t be measured by the fixture’s value.  

Brockport traveled to Ohio to face the Denison Big Red this past Saturday on February 23, where both sides took the field for the first time in 2019. Following the first face-off of the game, Brockport’s senior duo of attacker Sara Grapevine and midfielder Jade Williams put their team on the board first. 

Despite the bright start from the away side, Denison established its dominance early and netted five consecutive goals to put the team up 5-1 only 12 minutes into the first half. Brockport was able to break the opponent’s stride with goals from six different contributors, but it was Denison that led into the break 10-6. 

Brockport broke into the second with a push for the lead following Grapevine’s and senior attacker Heather Conklin’s second goals of the evening. As the game clock winded down, the green and gold kept chipping away at Denison’s advantage. 

It wasn’t until the last two minutes of play that Brockport was able to tie the contest at 14 when senior midfielder Hannah Cullen bagged her second of the evening. The two sides scored one apiece before the end of regulation and headed into overtime at a 15-15 tie. 

In overtime, Brockport’s duo that began the game’s scoring also capped it off as Williams scored off a Grapevine assist with three minutes to go, sealing the game for a Brockport victory of 16 to 15. 

Grabbing a win over one of the best women’s lacrosse programs in the nation to inspire the beginning of a new season is a dream start to 2019 for Brockport, but now the deed is done and the team is only looking ahead from here. 

“This comeback win is really a testament to all of the preparation and work we have put in during the offseason,” Grapevine said. “The non-conference side of it was the best case scenario for us, it will definitely prepare us for the season to come.” 

While the season has only begun, Brockport already showed glimpses of its previous season form. The team outshot Denison in all periods of the contest and displayed an awareness for spacing when it comes to attacking positions, a similar trend to the 2018 season. Nevertheless, a non-conference game comes with lessons and room for adjustments. 

“Our next game against Nazareth is also going to be a tough one, so the victory [over Denison] gives us a huge boost going ahead,” senior defender Jillian Babinsky said. “The main thing is that if we stick to the process, we will reach our goals.” 

Brockport has the opportunity to make a huge statement during the non-conference portion of the schedule. Coming away with a season-opening victory against Denison is a testament toward the team’s aspirations and games to come. 

The team’s next three challengers will be at home with Nazareth College being the first of the three. The Golden Eagles will have a chance to make it a perfect two wins from two games and further continue on with its momentum. The game against Nazareth is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Mar. 2 at 11 a.m.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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