LEWISBURG, Pa. – After going down 7-0 in nearly 12 minutes to start the game, the Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team put themselves in an early hole that was too much to climb out of in a 18-9 season-opening defeat at Bucknell on Saturday afternoon.
Later trailing 11-3 early in the second half, the Pioneers attempted a late-game rally as SHU went on a 6-2 run to cut the cap to 13-9 with 9:11 remaining only to see the Bison score five unanswered to finish off the nine-goal win.
There were several individual stars on the day for the Pioneers, headlined by sophomore Claire McElhenny who put up eight ground balls to go along with three caused turnovers and two draw controls. McElhenny's eight ground balls is tied for the second-highest single-game total in program history, second only to Mary Romano's nine which came against Stony Brook back on March 25, 2003.
Sophomores Lydia Werlau (three goals, two assists) and Grace Reinold (three goals, one assist) each tallied hat tricks to lead the SHU offense while first-year Emma Kittredge posted two goals in her collegiate debut while senior Cassie Cesario totaled two points (one goal, one assist).
Elizabeth Small teamed up with McElhenny for a dynamic duo on the defensive end as Small finished with a team-leading five draw controls with three caused turnovers and three ground balls. First-year Bella Beaton made 11 saves and allowed 12 goals in her 51:10 minutes of action coming off the bench following a 6-0 start for Bucknell.
1st Half (10-3 Bucknell)
- It was a flurry as the Bison scored on six of their first seven shots-on-goal to build a 6-0 lead which turned into a 7-0 lead just 11:56 into play
- SHU found the net for the first time in 2020 as Cesario fed Reinold 16:07 into the half but Bucknell scored two more following the Reinold strike as the home side led 9-1
- Reinold scored again, this time with SHU playing a player down, while Kittredge later followed with her first that made it 9-3 Bison
- After Sarah Monteleone scored 1:20 minutes later, neither team scored for the remaining 7:31 of play in the first half
2nd Half (18-9 Bucknell)
- SHU put together their most-productive offensive outburst of the game, scoring three goals in a span of 3:41 as Werlau struck for a pair of free position tallies
- Werlau netted her hat trick with a third free position goal just three minutes later to make it 12-7 Bucknell
- More pressure from SHU came later in the half as Reinold completed her hat trick off a Werlau assist and Cesario capitalized on a player-advantage with 9:11 remaining that cut the margin down to four
- The Bison, however, were quick to respond as two goals in a span of 47 seconds made it 15-9 Bucknell before three more came late to complete the victory
SHU heads back out on the road for a match against former NEC rival Monmouth on Saturday, Feb. 15 with the opening draw set for 1:00 PM from Kessler Stadium in West Long Branch, New Jersey.