Ducks spoil senior day for women’s lacrosse

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Jim McLaughlin, Sports Editor 

The Utica College women’s lacrosse team’s late rally fell short against Stevens Institute of Technology, as the Pioneers lost 13-8 on senior day.

The Pioneers honored eight seniors: Tori Couture, Briana Estabrook, Courtney Wheeler, Colleen Dowling, Lisa Howden, Mary Morgan Marafino, Erin Jacobson, and Kells Casey for their efforts on and off the field throughout their careers.

Junior Rebecca Plunkett was able to get UC on the board early, scoring the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the first half. However, the Ducks were able to rally from the deficit and scored six consecutive goals to take a 6-1 lead. Sophomore Brooke Miller found the back of the net off a pass from Dowling, and Wheeler added another goal for the Pioneers before halftime. But Stevens also came away with two goals at the end of the half, and the Ducks took an 8-3 lead into the break.

Freshmen Katlyn Scarpinella and Noelle Capriglione started the rally off for the Pioneers, as they scored to cut the lead down to 9-5. Plunkett and Dowling scored a goal each, and all of a sudden, Stevens’ lead was just two goals with 13:17 remaining in regulation.

Stevens didn’t let the late rally from UC change the outcome of the game as they scored four straight goals to extend the lead to 13-7. Wheeler added a late goal and the Ducks came away with the 13-8 victory.

UC’s defense and passing was a main factor in its loss to St. John Fisher a week before, and that seemed to carry over against Stevens.

“Hard work was definitely not an issue on Saturday,” Wheeler said. “We each put all of our effort and hustle into the game. We just needed to clean up our defense and connect on passes on attack.”

Despite the loss, Wheeler reflected on her career as a Pioneer and how it has really been a big part of her time at UC.

“The last four years have been an unforgettable experience that I am so glad I was a part of,” she said. “The camaraderie on the team is like no other and a family is created between every teammate.”

UC now holds a 1-2 record in conference play and looks to take advantage of a weekend on the road. They will face off against Houghton College on Saturday and Alfred University on Sunday. Both Houghton and Alfred have not won a game in conference yet and the Pioneers look to improve their defense in preparation for the weekend.

“Our defense is really strong,” Estabrook said. “I know that there are some minor things that we need to work on, but overall we do have a strong work ethic.”

The key for the team to come away with two wins this weekend is to stay focused and not play down to the level of its competition.

“The key and game plan would be playing at our level,” Wheeler said. “We have to come out playing the way we have been playing and playing our game to really get good team wins.”

The Pioneers currently hold a 3-1 record on the road, with their last win against neighbor SUNY Poly two weeks ago. With the experience on the road so far this season, the Pioneers are confident in what they can accomplish as a team.

“We have not been away for a while for a game, but I think we will handle it just fine,” Wheeler said. “We will spend the night on Saturday so it cuts time off of spending it on a bus, but we are ready for it.”

Featured image; Senior Courtney Wheeler scored two goals in Saturday’s senior day loss to Stevens. Photo by ucpioneers.com.