Women’s lacrosse hosted the Brewers of Vassar College on Friday, April 3 for the team’s second Liberty League game of the season. Throughout Friday’s game, the Engineer defense struggled, leaving Brewer attackers undefended and failing to stay between Vassar and the RPI net. Additionally, the RPI offense proved to be far less aggressive than the Vassar attack, leaving Brewer goalie Kate Pula untested for much of the first half. RPI’s defensive weakness within the eight meter and comparatively unassertive attack contributed to RPI’s 8-11 overtime loss to Vassar.
Vassar failed to capitalize on its first real scoring opportunity after Jackie Palma forced a turnover at the top of RPI’s 12 meter in Vassar’s favor. Hannah Cho, who was waiting unguarded deep in Rensselaer territory, received the ball and charged straight for the Engineers’ net. Cho’s shot went wide and the ball was recovered by RPI senior goalie Erin Amarello. The ball was successfully cleared up the field to senior midfielder Erin Riley, whose shot went high and rebounded off of the crossbar.
Although the Engineers held possession, the RPI attack put very little pressure on Vassar’s defense and was unable to find a path to the goal. Vassar regained possession. Storm Sideleau dodged an RPI defender and shot low at RPI’s net. Amarello successfully blocked the shot to keep Vassar off of the scoreboard for the time being. Riley carried the ball up the field for RPI, where the attack patiently passed it around the fan. Engineer sophomore attack Sophie Hager held the ball behind the net and set up graduate midfielder Meg Colitz for a shot at the top of the crease. The shot went wide and the Brewers got possession of the ball.
Brittany Botticelli tried to find a path to the goal but was stopped by the RPI defense crashing on her, resulting in a shooting space call on RPI and a free position shot for Vassar. Botticelli scored Vassar’s first goal at 21:48 to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Sideleau blew past two RPI defenders and lobbed the ball to teammate Julia Trudell who was completely unguarded in front of the RPI net. Trudell scored an easy goal at 19:04 to put Vassar up by two. RPI gained control of the ball at the draw following Vassar’s second goal. Junior midfielder Erin DeLucca gave Pula with her first real test of the game on a free position shot at 18:24. DeLucca’s shot went low and was saved by Pula. Pula was challenged again at 17:06 by junior attack Mackenzie O’Neil. O’Neil pushed her way past Vassar defenders to net RPI’s first goal of the game, putting the Engineers on the board. Riley was credited with an assist. The Brewers responded with another goal less than a minute later to give Vassar a two point lead. Sideleau scored Vassar’s fourth goal of the half at 7:30 to increase the Brewers’ lead to three. A quick roll dodge by Colitz opened a path to the goal allowing her to score at 1:39. Colitz’s goal brought the score to 2-4 going into the second half.
RPI came back from a two point deficit to tie the game at eight in the second half. Rensselaer saw an increase in time of possession in large part due to senior midfielder Jamie Wakefield’s success at the draw. The Engineers had a rough start to the second half with senior defender Lydia Wolter receiving a yellow card for contact to the head 90 seconds into play and followed by a fifth Vassar goal shortly after. A failed clearing attempt by Amarello at 25:57 gave Kim Mulvehill a clear shot to the goal. Fortunately for RPI, Mulvehill’s shot attempt went high and the ball went out of play. Vassar regained possession and passed the ball around the fan. Trudell fed the ball to teammate Sydney Spadinger who lost the ball in front of the Rensselaer net.
Amarello cleared the ball up the field where, after a short scramble, freshman attack Morgan Doyle came up with the ball and passed it up the field. Wakefield caught the ball outside the 12 meter and ran it in for an easy goal, bringing the score to 3-5.
RPI allowed two more goals before scoring two of their own. Riley scored on a free position shot at 14:54. RPI changed defensive strategy during the next few minutes and began doubling the ball. The defense forced a turnover on a bad pass by Leigh Anne Baldwin. Riley picked up the ball and sped past Brewer midfielders and passed to sophomore attack Chelsea Brennan, who was wide open inside Vassar’s 12. Brennan caught the ball at the eight and shot it past Pula, decreasing Vassar’s lead to two with 12 minutes left in play. Another Vassar goal at 11:10 made the score 5-8.
This was a turning point for the Engineers. RPI scored three unanswered goals to tie the game at eight. Brennan scored her second goal of the night on a free position shot at 9:43. Enya Cunningham, facing pressure from RPI’s defense, tried passing back to Brewer goalie Pula but the pass went wide into the back of Vassar’s net for an RPI goal. The remainder of regulation play was scoreless and the game went into overtime. RPI crumbled. During the next six minutes of play, Rensselaer allowed three goals resulting in an 8-11 loss for the Engineers.
After Friday’s 8-11 overtime loss to Vassar, RPI hosted Bard College on Saturday, April 4 in another Liberty League match. The Engineers dominated Saturday’s contest, shutting down Bard 9-1. With RPI’s win against Bard, the team improves its league record to 2-1 and overall record to 4-4. Next weekend women’s lacrosse travels to Potsdam, NY and Canton, NY to take on Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, respectively.