Drew White | Staff Writer
The Duquesne women’s lacrosse team finished its home portion of the season on a high note on April 22 as it defeated the George Washington Colonials 20-13 at Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field. The win improved Duquesne’s record to 4-11 on the season, and 2-6 in A-10 play.
After dropping the opening game of their home stand to Davidson in a 10-8 loss Friday, the Dukes were able to shake it off and snap a six-game losing streak to top George Washington on Senior Day.
Prior to the game, it was all smiles for the Dukes as they honored their six seniors — Sarah Dawley, Kenna Gubler, Rachel Hughes, Emily McMinimee, Allison Shifflett and Jill Vacanti — with a Senior Day ceremony. But, as soon as the first whistle blew, the Dukes meant business.
Right from the start, it was all Duquesne, as sophomore Maddie Hart scored the first of her team-leading four goals and got the Dukes on the board just 3:25 into the game. The Dukes then rattled off two more goals as Sarah Kollhoff and Haley Matthai found the back of the net with just under six minutes elapsed in the game forcing, the Colonials to call an early timeout.
After the Colonials finally made it onto the board, the Dukes responded almost immediately with three straight goals, making the score 6-1 in favor of the Dukes. After the last of the three goals, it appeared as if the Dukes would continue rolling, as they drew a yellow card on the ensuing play, sending the Dukes to the man-up advantage for two minutes and giving them possession.
Duquesne couldn’t cash in though, as George Washington goalkeeper Jenna Oler then made a save and drew a penalty on Jill Vacanti in the process, negating the Dukes’ man advantage.
It turned out the penalty to Vacanti would motivate the Colonials, as they went on a four-goal run to control the last 10 minutes of the half, bringing them within one goal of the Dukes at a score of 6-5 when the halftime buzzer sounded.
When the second half started though, the Dukes came out with a vengeance. Sparked by a first-minute goal by Hart, the Dukes went on a four-goal run of their own in the first eight minutes of the half. Vacanti, the leading goal scorer for the Dukes, had been held goalless in the prior three games but finally found the back of the net during the run, recording the seventh and eighth goals of the game for the Dukes. When all was said and done, the Dukes were up 9-5 before the Colonials had a quality scoring opportunity of their own in the second half.
The Colonials eventually found the net, ending the four-goal run for the Dukes, but Duquesne was not done as it then proceeded to go on a 7-0 stretch across nine minutes, rolling past the Colonials in the second half.
After George Washington was finally able to stop the bleeding, it was already too late, as the damage had been done. The teams traded a few more goals before the final horn rang, with the Dukes winning, 20-13.
In net, sophomore Maddy Curtis, who has started the last three games in place of injured starter Emily McMinimee, was fantastic, making 16 saves on 29 shots on goal, good for a .552 save percentage.
“Curtis in the cage has stepped into big moments when McMinimee was injured, and since Maddy will be the starter next year, it is great for her to build her confidence,” Head Coach Lisa Evans said. “She was great between the pipes today, she sees the ball very well and I thought the defense gave her great opportunities to make saves and she did that and was great here today.”
As previously mentioned, the Dukes were led offensively by Hart who recorded four goals and an assist. Vacanti and Kollhoff also added hat tricks while Carlee Braverman, Michaela Connolly and Kirsten Barnes added two goals apiece. Sam Cirino, Matthai and Courtney Battles all found the net for Duquesne, as well.
It is no secret that the past two seasons have not been easy on the Bluff for the program, but Evans was glad to send the seniors out on a high note.
“We really wanted to have them put it out there on the field,” Evans said. “It is all about legacy. The past two years haven’t been exactly how they wanted them to go, but we had this opportunity here today and we wanted them to leave it all on the field and show everyone what their four years were about, which is what they did here today.”
The Dukes wrap up their season with a trip to first-place Massachusetts on Saturday, April 28. The Minutewomen, who own a 7-1 record in conference play, lost to VCU on April 22, snapping a 61-game conference winning streak which dated all the way back to 2010.