Royals Put Up Valiant Effort In Dropping 14-11 Decision To 13th-Ranked Catholic University in Semifinals of Landmark Tournament Wednesday Afternoon In Washington, DC
WASHINGTON, DC—What a difference four days made for The University of Scranton's women's lacrosse team Wednesday afternoon against 13th-ranked Catholic University in the semifinals of the Landmark Conference tournament at Cardinal Stadium.
The Royals didn't look anything like the team that was manhandled by the 13th-ranked Cardinals, 18-5, in last Saturday's regular-season finale at Fitzpatrick Field.
Instead, Scranton gave the four-time defending champions all they could handle before dropping a 14-11 decision. The Royals trailed by only one with eight minutes remaining before the Cardinals ended the game on a 3-1 run to move into Saturday's championship game against Susquehanna University, which defeated Drew University, 18-5, in the other semifinal game.
Sophomore attacker Kerry Sullivan (Oceanport, NJ/Shore Regional), the Royals' leading scorer, made a big difference in the Scranton lineup today after sitting last Saturday's game with an ankle injury. She scored a game-high four goals, including two in the final three minutes of the first half as Scranton avoided an early knockout punch and trailed by only two at intermission.
The Royals, which put the wraps on an 11-7 season, also received two goals and two assists from junior attacker Deanna Giorno (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South), two goals and an assist from senior attacker Kaela Mahon (Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ/Saint Rose), and a goal and an assist from freshman midfielder Emily Goss (Morristown, NJ/Morristown).
Catholic, which held a 40-26 advantage in shots and an 18-8 margin in draw controls, was led by senior midfielders Mary Swarthout (Rockville, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and Meghan Brady (Huntington Bay, NY/St. Anthony's) with three goals apiece and senior midfielder Mallory Vogel (Bel-Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) and freshman midfielder Lindsay Brophy (Haddonfield, NY/St. Anthony's) contributed two apiece.
The Cardinals opened each half as if might turn the game into a rout.
Swarthout scored twice in the first five minutes to spark a 5-1 rally and Brady scored twice in the first seven minutes of the second half during a 3-1 spurt to extend a 7-5 halftime lead into a 10-6 margin with 24 minutes remaining.
The Royals, however, fought back and answered with goals from Sullivan, Goss, and junior midfielder Jilliana DePaolera (Kinnelon, NJ/Kinnelon) during a four-minute span to cut the lead down to one, 10-9.
Scranton cut the lead down to one once again, this time on the successful conversion of a free-position shot by Giorno in the 52nd minute. Vogel then keyed the game-deciding run. She set up back-to-back goals by freshman midfielder Tori Neill (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern) and sophomore midfielder Theresa Ciletti (Ocean City, Md./Worcester Prep) before finishing off a 3-0 spurt with a successful free-position shot with four minutes left to give the Cardinals some breathing room, 14-10.
Sullivan closed out the scoring with a goal off of a play set up by Giorno on an extra-man opportunity with 1:48 remaining.
Junior goalkeeper Kathleen Smart (Hatboro, Pa./Archbishop Wood) made a game-high 14 saves for Scranton, which had been beaten by Catholic University by an average of nearly 12 goals in six previous losses. Freshman Tricia Pehnke (West Windsor, NJ/West Windsor Plainsboro North) and sophomore Yasmeen Ajdari (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) split time evenly in goal for Catholic, now 13-5, and combined to make 10 saves.
Today's game was the final one for Royal seniors Kaela Mahon (Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ/Saint Rose) and Alison Gilroy (Endwell, NJ/Seton Catholic Central). Mahon scored a goal in the first half and finishes her career with 83 goals and 28 assists for 111 total points. She is currently 13th in goals, 14th in total points, 15th in assists, and 12th in shot attempts (199) in Scranton history.
Gilroy, a defender throughout much of her career, played in 41 games and finished with 20 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.
DePaolera, Giorno, and Sullivan return to the lineup in 2013 after moving into the top 20 in scoring all-time in Scranton history this season. DePaolera is currently tied for eighth with 127 points (80 goals, 47 assists), Giorno is ninth with 119 points (67 goals, 52 assists), and Sullivan is 12th with 113 points (89 goals, 24 assists).