It was a tough weekend for both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams at Rensselaer as the squads tackled some of their toughest challenges yet. The men’s team, which was ranked No. 20 heading into the weekend but fell out of the national spotlight, stumbled in a 6-3 decision to No. 11 Union College on Saturday. The women’s team, which was 10-0 heading into Friday’s match and off to the best start in school history, suffered its first loss of the year as the Engineers were edged 10-9 by the Union Dutchwomen. However, the women’s squad bounced back to earn a 19-9 victory over William-Smith College on Saturday.
After splitting the weekend’s results, the women’s lacrosse team is a mere two wins away from setting a school record for single-season victories. This year’s squad joins the 1994 and 1997 teams as the only ones to earn more than 10 wins in a season as the Engineers moved to 11-1 overall with a 5-1 Liberty League record.
The Engineers started Friday’s match with the Dutchwomen strong, as freshman Jamie Wakefield netted the game’s first two goals within the opening seven minutes of play. Union freshman Haley Gould responded off a free position shot, but sophomore Marissa Page gave RPI a 3-1 lead with 15:59 remaining in the first half. Gould and fellow freshman Emily McGrail would strike again, and a goal from senior Hilary Salander would give the visiting Dutchwomen a 4-3 advantage heading to intermission.
Gould and RPI junior captain Shannon Maguire exchanged tallies to start the second half before Union scored three-straight goals to take a 8-4 lead. However, the Engineers hit the back of the net five times to earn a 9-8 advantage, including two goals from sophomore Meg Colitz, and one each from Maguire and sophomores Rachel Scofield and Liz Powell.
Despite strong play from Rensselaer, McGrail managed to get two more goals past junior netminder Allie Arnal in the final 3:44 of play, helping Union to a 10-9 victory. Arnal finished with five saves in her first loss of the season, while Union freshman Kim Grinhaus had six stops.
Following the loss, the Engineers stepped up their game as they scored a whopping 19 goals in their victory over the William-Smith Herons. Wakefield tallied a game-high six goals, while Page added another four.
Rensselaer jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 1:37 into the contest off tallies from Scofield and Page. After the Herons pulled within one off a goal from junior Kathleen Ragan, Wakefield scored back-to-back goals to pull RPI ahead 4-1. Senior Madeline Sisson scored twice in a row as well, but WSC pulled within three off tallies from seniors Rosie Scheibel and Lucy Johnson.
Midway through the first half Wakefield struck again, but so did Scheibel and Johnson for the Herons. Shortly after, Johnson scored her third goal of the match to pull the visitors within one, but Wakefield and Page worked hard to give Rensselaer a three-goal pad once again. Ragan scored again with 1:08 left in the half, but Page closed the door as she scored with nine ticks left on the clock.
Although the Herons were able to get a pair of goals early in the second half, the Engineers exploded to score seven unanswered tallies to close out the match. Wakefield added two more goals in the 30-minute frame, while Colitz scored three times, and Page, Scofield, and sophomores Michelle Denny and Julia Wright hit the back of the net once each.
Arnal finished with 11 saves to earn the win, while senior Muryum Khalid closed out the final 5:53 for Rensselaer in relief, making one stop.
The Engineers hit the road for the remainder of the regular season, visiting Vassar College and Bard College this weekend for Liberty League action. Rensselaer’s match against the Vassar Brewers will be this Friday at 4 pm, while the contest with the Bard Raptors on Saturday will begin at 2 pm.
RPI’s brief return to the national-rankings was cut short after falling to now No. 11 Union College in its only match last week. The Engineers, formerly 20th in the country, dropped a 6-3 decision to the Dutchmen, who were ranked sixth overall last week.
Senior midfielder Grant Foulsham scored the only goal of the first quarter to give the Engineers a 1-0 advantage. However, Union sophomore Rob Santagelo netted the equalizer in the second quarter, putting both teams in a 1-1 deadlock after the first half.
Union senior captain Ted McKenna gave the Dutchmen a 2-1 lead at 13:42 of the third quarter, but Foulsham scored his second of the match to knot the game at two. Sophomore Nate Greenberg netted his first of two goals on the evening to give Union a 3-2 advantage after three quarters of play.
Although RPI freshman Connor Sullivan was able to bring the Engineers to a 3-3 tie, the Dutchmen responded with three unanswered tallies to earn the 6-3 victory. Rensselaer sophomore netminder Alex Castronovo made 12 saves in the loss as the Engineers fell to 9-3 overall on the season, including a 3-2 Liberty League mark.
RPI takes on St. Lawrence University in its final home game and Liberty League contest of the regular season this Saturday. The match is set to take place at the East Campus Stadium beginning at 1 pm.