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Women's lacrosse turns back Wesleyan, 14-13

Jenn Brallier '13 (right) congratulates Joan O'Neill '12 after O'Neill's fourth goal gave Bates a 14-10 lead.
Briana Gross '10 fires to give Bates a 6-4 lead in the first half.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Sophomore Joan O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.) scored a career-high four goals for the second straight game as the No. 15 nationally ranked Bates College women's lacrosse team held off Wesleyan University for a 14-13 conference win on Saturday.

Wesleyan (2-5, 0-3 NESCAC) received three goals apiece from both Lydia Kring and Catherine Taibi, while Allie Lynch supplied three assists. Erin McCarthy and Eliza Ruggiero added two goals and one assist apiece.

Bates (2-2, 2-1 NESCAC) also got three goals and two assists from senior Morgan Maciewicz (Marblehead, Mass.). Senior Molly Radis (Peaks Island, Maine) and first-year Jenn Brallier (Chambersburg, Pa.) added two goals and one assist apiece, and sophomore Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.) also scored twice for the Bobcats while causing six turnovers.

Bates trailed only once, at 1-0, after Kayla Ellman's unassisted goal in the third minute. Bates ran off five unanswered goals from there, over a span of six minutes and 10 seconds, for a lead the Bobcats never relinquished at 5-1 with 18:13 to go in the first half. Maciewicz assisted Radis to tie it up at 1-1, and Brallier added two straight, on assists by Radis and Maciewicz, for a 3-1 lead wiht 20:23 left. O'Neill then drove in for two straight unassisted tallies to make it 5-1.

Wesleyan came back with three straight goals -- two straight by Ruggiero, followed by a McCarthy goal assisted by Lynch, to close within one goal of Bates for the first of three times during the game, at 5-4 with 12:37 left in the first.

Bates bumped the lead back to three at 7-4, but Wesleyan answered again with two striaght goals to close it to 7-6 with 6:15 left in the period.

Radis made it 8-6 when she finished off a spinning, ducking penetration with an unassisted tally at 3:46, and Maciewicz converted a free-position shot with 42.5 seconds left in the half for a 9-6 lead at the break.

Maciewicz scored again to open the second half at the 28:27 mark, but Jess Chukwu answered less than a minute later on a McCarthy assist, and the Cardinals stayed within three goals of Bates or fewer until O'Neill scored the second of back-to-back unassisted goals to make it 14-10 with 4:50 remaining in the game. The Cardinals wasted no time in asserting that the game wasn't over, however, as Taibi netted her first goal of the game 23 seconds later. Taibi struck again 36 seconds after that, closing it to 14-12 with 3:51 left to play.

With 1:40 left, a Bates defender was whistled for a foul and a free-position opportunity was awarded to the Cardinals. Eileen Gaffney started the play and dished to Kring for Wesleyan's three straight score to close it to 14-13 with 100 seconds left in the game.

Dannis won the crucial ensuing draw control for Bates, but the Bobcats turned the ball over with under a minute left, allowing Wesleyan the chance to tie. But the Cardinals were unable to get off a shot to equalize the game as Bates played swarming defense over the final 45 seconds.

Junior goalie Mara Krueger (St. Louis, Mo.) made seven saves for Bates. Maggie Drowica and Abby Sedney combined for 10 saves: four for Drowica in the first half and six for Sedney in the second.

The Bobcats next play another NESCAC game at Tufts University on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The Cardinals' next game is also at Tufts, next Saturday at 12 p.m.

Stats and Play by Play: #15 Bates 14, Wesleyan 13