Bryant Edges Central Conn., Monmouth On Deck
from press release
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Junior Lisa Vendel (Sandy Hook, Conn.) scored the final two goals of the game, including the eventual game-winner with 5:02 left in regulation, to lead the Bryant University women's lacrosse team to a thrilling 11-10 conference semifinal victory over Central Connecticut Friday afternoon.
With the victory, Bryant, the third seed of the tournament, will now advance to Sunday's Northeast Conference championship game to face top-seed and host Monmouth University at 1 p.m.
Bryant (10-7) and Monmouth met once earlier this season back on April 19 in Smithfield, RI with the Hawks winning 12-8.
Looking to avenge an earlier one-goal loss to the Blue Devils, Bryant came out ready to play Friday afternoon in the semifinals. Junior Kimberley Sniffen (Redding, Conn.) got the Bulldogs on the board the first of her four goals on the day, scoring on a free position attempt just two minutes into the game. She would follow with an unassisted tally moments later, beating Blue Devils goalie Morgan Tullar with a shot just under the cross bar to put the Bulldogs up quickly 2-0.
Central Connecticut (9-9) would answer with a goal from Madison Hughes, but Bryant would rattle off three-straight scores, including a pair from junior Haley Bloom (Hauppauge, N.Y.) as Bryant was jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead.
However, the Blue Devils would counter with three scores of their own, all coming during a span of just over two minutes, to pull to within a goal at 5-4 with 6:43 remaining in the half.
Freshman Lauren Descalzo (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and junior Katherine Keckeisen (Danbury, Conn.) helped give the Bulldogs a little breathing room before Falynn McCartney scored for CCSU late in the half as Bryant took a 7-5 lead into the break.
CCSU held a 9-4 advantage on draw controls in the first stanza, but the Bulldogs did a great job defensively, forcing three failed clears and seven turnovers, and got excellent play from goalie Brianna Watt (Babylon, N.Y.) who finished with nine saves in the game.
After a Keckeisen goal to put the Bulldogs back in front 8-7, CCSU came back with three-straight to take a 10-8 lead with just under 12 minutes left to play in the game.
But that would be all the scoring for the Blue Devils as Sniffen scored on a free position shot to make it 10-9 and then Vendel scored her first of the game, also coming on a free position shot attempt, to tie the game at 10-10 with 5:36 to go.
Then, after a draw control win and ground ball from Keckeisen, the Bulldogs worked the ball to Vendel once and the junior first team all-conference selection weaved her way around a Blue Devils defender on the left side and ripped off a low shot for the game-winner past Tullar.
Bryant out-shot Central Connecticut, 36-21, including 18-8 in the second half.
The winner of Sunday's championship game will earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse championship. Sunday's game can be seen live online at www.necfrontrow.com