WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Despite a strong defensive showing, the Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team couldn't muster enough on the offensive end in a 11-5 loss at Monmouth on Saturday afternoon from Kessler Stadium. The Pioneers remain winless in 2020 at 0-2 while the Hawks win in their season opener.
Monmouth scored three unanswered in the first six minutes of play and later led 6-1 after 17 minutes played in the first half. After SHU found a little bit of offense to start the second half that cut the Hawks' lead down to 7-3, Monmouth rattled off a 3-0 run over a span of just 3:11 that put the game out of reach for the Pioneers.
Cassie Cesario had three of the five SHU goals, recording her eighth career hat trick. Kerri Metzler and Anna Mesham accounted for the two remaining Pioneer goals on the day. On the defensive end, Claire McElhenny had another banner day with three caused turnovers and two ground balls while first-year Bella Beaton starred in her first collegiate start as she tallied 17 saves with 11 goals allowed for a save percentage of 60.7.
1st Half (7-2 MON)
- Monmouth seized control from the start, scoring twice within the first three minutes of play and later adding a third after another three minutes
- SHU got on the board via an Anna Mesham tally as she scored her first career goal off an assist from first-year Emma Kittredge
- Just when the Pioneers found the net, Monmouth continued to blitz the SHU defense with another 3-0 run that vaulted the Hawks out in front 6-1 with 13:11 remaining in the half
- Kerri Metzler broke up the Monmouth scoring streak with her first of the season but a key moment followed as SHU's top defender Elizabeth Small picked up her second yellow card in the first half, forcing her out of the remainder of the game
- Despite the loss of Small, the Hawks were shutdown until the final seconds as Nicole Ceraso scored on a free position with just six seconds showing to give the Hawks a five-goal lead at halftime
2nd Half (11-5 MON)
- SHU grabbed some early momentum as Cesario scored her first of three in the second half, this one coming off an assist from first-year Mikala Eacrett
- Lowering the deficit to four, SHU looked to be back in the game, that was until a third 3-0 Monmouth run made it 10-3 and put the game largely out of reach
- Cesario picked up a pair of unassisted goals to complete her hat trick but it was too little, too late for the Pioneers who were dealt the 11-5 loss
- Beaton was stellar in the cage for SHU, racking up 17 saves to set a SHU single-game record for a first-year
- Beaton's 17 saves also signaled the most for any Pioneer goalkeeper since Kelly Keenan tallied 17 against Monmouth back on March 30, 2012 (120 games ago)
- Danielle Heady totaled a team-leading three draw controls which also signaled a career-high for the senior
- The Pioneers' leader in points, Lydia Werlau, was held in-check as she didn't register a point and finished with two shots (one on-target)
- Natalie Cook was thrust into the lineup with Small's exit and she performed well, tallying the first two caused turnovers of her career
- Through two games this season, McElhenny was been a force with 10 ground balls and six caused turnovers (both lead the team)
- SHU held their own in draw controls, totaling eight compared to 10 for Monmouth (SHU led 5-3 in the second half)
- The game swung on free position opportunities as the Pioneers went 0-for-5 on free position shot attempts while the Hawks went 3-for-9
- Ground balls (30-13) and shots (40-17) were heavily in Monmouth's favor
The Pioneers have their home opener scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28 with a 2:00 PM start scheduled against Vermont.