Smith College drops lacrosse opener to Western New England

For the Gazette
Published: 3/1/2017 10:15:26 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Even a brief power outage could not save the Smith College women’s lacrosse team Wednesday night, as it fell 13-8 to Western New England in the first game of the season.

“I think defensively, we need to take care of paying attention to the ball a little bit better and staying goal side with cutters a little bit more,” said Smith coach Katie Moore. “Our transition from defense to offense took a little while to get going ... that’s kind of what we’re hoping to work on going into Simmons on Saturday.”

The scoreboard remained idle until eight minutes into the game, when WNE’s Shannen Barrett forced a turnover in front of the net for an easy goal. The Golden Bears scored twice more in the next three minutes, and led 3-0 until Smith junior Chloe Harris produced a crafty spin move and bounce-shot goal that froze the Golden Bears defense at 17:08.

Smith trailed 8-2 with 40 seconds left in the first half when the lights over the field and in the nearby parking lot went totally dark. Each team remained on the field during the outage, stretching and jogging as Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” blared from sideline speakers. It took about 20 minutes before power was restored and the game resumed.

The stoppage hardly slowed down WNE. After outshooting Smith 26-7 and finishing the first half on a 10-minute run of four unanswered goals, WNE’s Rachel Canning scored twice more to open the second half. Trailing 10-2, Smith freshman Raleigh Williams ended her team’s 18-minute scoring drought with a goal at 22:25.

After scoring just twice in the first half, Smith found a rhythm late in the game, scoring four of the game’s final six goals.

“Once our transition game got going, it worked very nicely,” said Moore. “We were able to connect our passes and get more and more shots to the net.”

The Golden Bears matched Smith’s second-half offensive surge, scoring five goals to secure a victory. Canning and freshman teammate Lindsey Phillips had four goals each to lead all scorers.

Harris led the Pioneers with three goals, fellow junior Julia Hamilton added two, and Williams, sophomore Katie Christensen and freshman Sydney Garner each had one.

Belchertown native and graduate student Emma Norden controlled the pace for WNU. The co-captain led the Golden Bears with three draw controls, four groundball recoveries and six caused turnovers. The midfielder took three shots, and though none found the net, Smith goalie Sarah Price was forced to make a difficult save on all three.

Smith committed 24 fouls, while WNE was called for just seven. The Golden Bears (1-1) won nearly every statistical category, including 40 to 20 in shots and 14 to 9 in draw controls. The Pioneers turned the ball over 30 times, 14 of which were unforced errors.

The Pioneers (0-1) have only a couple of days rest before their season continues Saturday at home against Simmons.

“Honestly, we’re mostly happy with how this went,” said Moore. “It was a one-goal improvement from our loss to them last year. We knew it was going to be a tough game for us, but I think we were ready for the challenge.”

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