When fourth-ranked Salisbury University ended the College’s lacrosse team’s 52-regular season game winning streak, nobody seemed too worried.
“The loss will just push us to work even harder,” sophomore forward Amanda Fuchs said last week.
However, the Lions proceeded to lose their second straight game on Saturday afternoon, a tightly-contested 10-9 defeat to the 12th-ranked Red Dragons of SUNY Cortland. It is the first time that the lacrosse team has lost consecutive games since 1985 and is its first ever loss in 14 meetings with Cortland.
The Lions, who started the season as the second-ranked team in Division III, dropped to fourth with a 1-2 record, while the Red Dragons improved to a perfect 5-0 on the young season.
The Lions came out with a poor effort in the first half, which led to a 5-2 halftime deficit. They rebounded in the second half and tied the game at nine with 2:29 left, but Red Dragons’ sophomore midfielder Ali Bourgal scored on a free position shot with 34 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.
“We’re not getting it done in the first half like we need to,” sophomore attacker Bernadette Campbell said. “We’re doing little things here and there that add up.”
Bourgal wreaked havoc on the Lions’ defense with seven goals and one assist. Junior midfielder Jessie Lynch added two goals for the Red Dragons.
Freshman midfielder Karen Doane led the Lions with five goals, giving her an impressive 11 goals in the first three games of her college career. Junior midfielder Lauren Dougher contributed four goals and an assist, giving her the team lead in goals with 12.
The tandem of Doane and Dougher have accounted for 23 of the Lions’ 33 goals this season.
The Lions came out cold in the first half and failed to get things going until late in the second half. With the game tied at one, the Red Dragons tallied three consecutive goals, including two by Bourgal, to take a 4-1 lead with 15:16 remaining in the first half. The teams then traded goals, giving Cortland a comfortable 5-2 lead heading into the locker rooms.
The start of the second half did not go much better for the Lions, as their deficit stretched to as many as four. Finally, down 9-5 with 6:59 remaining, the Lions put together a run of their own. Dougher and Doane combined for four goals in 3:06 to tie the game and shift the momentum to the Lions’ side.
However, Bourgal proved too much for the Lions to handle and tallied the game-winning goal. The Lions were unable to get another shot on goal to try to tie the game.
Lions’ junior goalkeeper Megan Marquardt recorded eight saves in the loss, while Red Dragons’ junior Regina Grosso made seven stops as the last line of defense.
Despite a subpar start to the season, players still seem upbeat about the team’s chances to be successful.
“We’re taking (the losses) as learning experiences,” Campbell said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
“I wouldn’t say we have a problem,” sophomore attacker Kristin Zucconi said. “We’re a young team going through some growing pains.”
However, Zucconi did admit that none of the players are used to dealing with defeat.
Campbell said that while head coach Sharon Pfluger has been working the team hard on defense and attacking during practice, she is still very positive regarding the team’s performance.
“She always knows how we feel and how we should look forward to the next day and do our best,” Campbell said. “She has faith in us.”