by Tom Utescher
Last Saturday, the women of Chestnut Hill College got to open their 2012 lacrosse season at home, but in the choice of opponents the schedule makers weren’t kind to the Griffins.
The visitors at Victory Field were the Lady Lions of Molloy College, who came in ranked 11th in the nation in NCAA Division II and with four games already in the books. CHC actually scored first, but the Griffins’ guests from Long Island funneled in five straight goals after that and went on to win, 22-4.
“We scored the first goal, but we didn’t react well to our own success and keep on going,” observed second-year CHC coach Katie Lee. “I hope that we got the first-game jitters out today, because we have a lot of work to do before our big conference game with Philly U.”
Lee’s Griffins are paying a visit to Philadelphia University this Thursday to open up the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference season.
“I feel there are a number of teams capable of winning our conference, so if you come ready to play every game you can do well,” Lee said.
For the first few weeks of the season, Chestnut Hill is having to make do without first-team all-CACC midfielder Lindsay Alexander, who was injured towards the end of basketball season. Fellow junior Nicole Covello, the team’s leading scorer in 2011, was back in action, and her unassisted goal gave the Griffins the early edge five minutes into last Saturday’s encounter.
The Lions charged back to a 5-1 lead, gave up one goal to CHC junior Christina Squillante, and then resumed stalking around the CHC crease. The count reached 13-2 by halftime, and after the interlude, Molloy went up 17-2 before the home team got on the board in the second half.
The last two goals for the Griffins belonged to another third-year player, Brianne Timony, who drove in from the left for a pair of unassisted strikes. Molloy, which still was going to goal in the final minute of play, was led by senior Emily Antonette and junior Kaitlynn Kelly, with six and five goals, respectively.
Although her squad gave up a lot of points, Lee remarked “It wasn’t so much the way our defense played – the problem was we had to play defense so much of the time. We couldn’t keep possession of the ball up on attack or in the midfield. If you let the other team spend that much time attacking your goal, they’re going to score.”
The locals were outshot 43-15 in the game, while the two goalies employed by Molloy only needed to make four saves between them. CHC senior Jenn Delahanty recorded 14 stops in the Griffins’ cage.
“We need to work on a lot of the little things, like winning more draws and getting more ground balls,” noted Lee, who has most of the impact players returning from a 2011 squad that finished 5-7 in the CACC and 7-10 overall. “As a whole, though, our team is much better than last year. Every player is a little bit more experienced. We worked hard in the offseason, and the girls are in good shape.”