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Women's lacrosse saved the best for last

by Carson Werner - Sports Editor
Tue, Apr 16th 2019 10:00 pm
Senior midfielder Hannah Cullen sprints toward the cage in an attempt to increase her team's lead over Plattsburgh.
Senior midfielder Hannah Cullen sprints toward the cage in an attempt to increase her team's lead over Plattsburgh.
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Following the loss to Ithaca on March 20, The College at Brockport women’s lacrosse team has not faced formidable opposition since. Over the past eight games, Brockport has averaged over 18 goals per game and hasn’t given up more than nine goals in a contest. After three straight games without traveling, the Golden Eagles felt right at home this past week with two away wins against conference opponents, Fredonia and Oneonta. 

Like Plattsburgh the week before, the Fredonia Blue Devils don’t have the potential to compete in the aggressive SUNYAC. Expectedly, Brockport’s advantage in experience and talent was prevalent in the game, winning 22-1. 

The 22 goal outburst made it the second straight game for Brockport to have over 20 goals. Senior attacker Sara Grapevine once again led the attack with a season-high of 10 points that included three goals and seven assists. Her position behind the cage has been a huge factor in the team’s offensive output, assisting on 20 percent of Brockport’s total goals this year. 

“I have always had an unselfish style of play,” Grapevine said. “I think a lot of that came from being a behind the cage player. In that position, you are in a sense, the quarterback. My vision of the field from that position is much different than someone who plays up top because I can see the entire field of play. I find a lot of joy in being a feeder and facilitating plays that result in goals.”

Of the 10 players to score goals for Brockport, freshman attacker Allison Jennings had the most with five as junior attacker Chloe Kurst followed close behind with four. The Fredonia goalie, Kayla Purcell, didn’t have a prayer as she was only able to stop six of the 28 shots on goal from the Golden Eagles. On the other end, freshman goalie Morgan Elmer made two saves on three shots for Brockport, her only mishap coming two minutes into the first half. 

In the next game on Saturday, April 13, Elmer and the Golden Eagles faced much more resistance than they had on Wednesday, April 10. Entering the game, Oneonta possessed a 3—1 conference record, which was enough to place them in the top five teams of the SUNYAC and give Brockport a harder task for a change. However, with the way the green and gold have been playing, it’s going to take a lot more than an Oneonta effort to be beaten. 

Brockport began the game with an early 1-0 deficit, but the team hasn’t flinched when an opponent scores first all season. It took just under 10 minutes for the Golden Eagle midfielders to tie the game and produce a 4-1 lead. Senior Victoria Thompson tied the game at one and her counterpart, senior Hannah Cullen, gave Brockport the lead six minutes later with her 17th of the year. Senior Jade Williams and freshman Julie Carballo each added one as well to help grow Brockport’s hasty lead. Cullen, Jennings and senior attacker Heather Conklin combined for four more goals, bringing the score to 8-4 before the end of the half.

The second half featured 10 additional Golden Eagle tallies and only three from Oneonta to settle the score at 18-7. Conklin led the half with four goals while Grapevine found three teammates to add to her team-leading assist total of 37 on the year. 

The defense held Oneonta to 14 shots on goal, helping Elmer earn her 10th win of the year on seven saves. This season, senior defender Jillian Babinsky has played a significant role in the Brockport backfield after contributing as a midfielder in her first two years on the team.

“Our defense has been able to contribute to offense production because we have strong defenders that can carry the ball up the field to help start a fast break,” Babinsky said. “Our defenders will even take it to the cage if they can. We all are capable of shooting and have some offensive sense of what to do in certain fast break situations.”

Next week, starting on Wednesday, April 17, Brockport will endure back-to-back conference matchups against Geneseo and New Paltz on Saturday, April 20. The team’s final four games arguably stand as the Golden Eagle’s toughest opposition of the year. Three of the four games are against the second, third and fourth SUNYAC seeds, including unbeaten Geneseo and Cortland. Brockport’s second to last game is against Empire 8 leading and nationally ranked St. John Fisher. 

“Our next couple games are against very high quality opponents and we really need to make sure we don’t get complacent and we keep pushing forward to get better,” Grapevine said. “The focus at practice has been to challenge and push each other every day regardless of the opponent on the schedule. Geneseo is a great team and will be a good challenge for us.”

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