By Sam Brouwere
On March 11, the Canisius women’s lacrosse team traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. to play the Michigan Wolverines.
Just after the start of the game, senior Kim Coughlan scored the first goal of the game for the Wolverines. Not long after, the Griffs tied the game up with a goal coming from junior Erica Evans. The Wolverines would then score the next two goals of the game, putting the Griffs in a early 3-1 deficit early in the first half.
The Griffs would then go on to outscore the Wolverines for the remainder of the half, 9-2, putting the Griffs up 10-5 at halftime. Evans led the Griffs’ scoring attack with three goals in the opening half, while Jourdan Roemer added two goals. Ashley Bull, Tessa Chad, Lauren Smolensky and Allie Stewart all contributed one apiece.
Bull opened the second half scoring a quick goal for the Griffs, extending the team’s lead. Coughlan would counter with a goal of her own for the Wolverines, but their comeback attempt didn’t last long, with Canisius winning, 18-10. Chad and Evans each scored twice in the second half, while Bull and freshman Jen Reininger both added a goal each. Junior goaltender Rebecca Van Laken started in net for the Griffs, continuing to be one of the nation’s top goaltenders, making 13 saves. She now has a 5-4 record on the season.
“I thought it was a overall great team effort for 60 minutes,” said Canisius head coach Scott Teeter. “I thought we played extremely well throughout the whole game. We got out to a little bit of a slow start defensively, but we made some adjustments and really dominated the game.”
A key reason to why the Griffs were so successful in the game was due to Evans’ play, as she led the Griffs in scoring with seven points (five goals and two assists).
“I think we all worked well together that game,” she said. “Everybody was feeding off of each other and everybody was driving hard. It was just all of us working together and putting away our shots.”
A win against a school from the Big Ten Conference is an important win for the Griffs, as it not only shows the Griffs can compete with teams like the Wolverines, but it also can be a confidence booster.
“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Teeter said. “Michigan has a good program. I thought our confidence grew, not only throughout the game, but just really as a program we were able to put things in place that we had been trying to all year. I was happy about that.”
After the game, the Griffs had the week off for spring break. This break came at a convenient time for the Griffs, as it allowed the team to prepare and rest before their conference schedule.
Saturday, the Griffs will travel to Riverdale, N.Y. to take on the Manhattan Jaspers, to start their 2017 conference schedule. The Jaspers have a record of 2-5 on the season, and the game on Saturday will also be their first conference game. The Jaspers have players that the Griffs will need to look to slow down in the game. Sophomore Molly Fitzpatrick currently leads the Jaspers in scoring with 21 points, composed of 15 goals and six assists. Senior Darby Nolan has scored 12 goals and six assists so far this season.
“Manhattan is in a rebuilding phase, so I think that we are definitely the favorite in the game, but we’re on the road and Manhattan is one of the more challenging places to play at,” Teeter said. “Manhattan in the past two or three years has really upset a couple MAAC perennial powers as being the underdogs. We need to make sure that we have a good start and don’t underestimate them at all.”
Even though the Griffs have a clear advantage over the Jaspers, Manhattan should not be taken lightly because of their recent history of upsetting teams while being considered the underdogs, the Jaspers can pose quite a threat.