Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor
Team captain Haley Marafioti said after the game that every second counts. Against Bucknell this proved to be true as the Duquesne women’s lacrosse team (8-1) bested the Bucknell Bison (0-10) on Tuesday afternoon at Rooney Field 16-5. Since the margin was so wide midway through the game, the Dukes used the second half to do different things to help the team moving forward.
Head coach Mike Scerbo is the team’s toughest critic.
“I think we did well. We had a couple moments where we lost our focus,” he said. “We weren’t as crisp and as sharp as I would have liked us to be.”
Marafioti, a senior forward, was pleased with the attacking offense.
“I liked our transitions a lot,” she said.
The Dukes high-powered offense got on the board early and continued to pepper the net with shots. Coming into the game the Dukes were ranked sixth in the nation in goals per game with 15.5.
The first goal came just over two minutes into the first half when Michelle Morris received a good pass and made some moves to make the defender miss. She then buried a shot high on the left side. The Dukes took a 2-0 advantage before the Bison got on the board. Bucknell climbed back to 3-2, but the Dukes scored the next eight goals after that to take an 11-2 advantage into halftime.
The Dukes controlled every facet of the game and with the clock running in the second half thanks to a 10-goal advantage, a number of younger players and key bench players logged some valuable playing time.Scerbo had his eye on sophomore midfielder Meredith Micho.
“Micho, who has not been starting for us this year, is a sophomore who saw limited minutes last year. She is a kid who has been getting more and more minutes in the last couple weeks and she is really starting to come into her own,” he said. “She will be a threat for us coming off the bench.”
Even the team leaders were watching the younger players.
Marafioti noticed freshman midfielder Julia Rowse in particular.
“Every time [Rowse] gets the ball she goes hard to the goal. If she messes up she picks it up again,” she said.
Junior midfielder Clare Hurley, meanwhile, was watching Kelsey Blackburn, a freshman on the defensive side.
“Blackburn is such a hard worker in practice and it shows in games like today’s. She goes after groundballs and she is just a very hard worker and you can tell she wants it,” she said.
The Dukes’ starting senior goalie Kristen Gregory played well. She faced 10 shots and made 7 saves. This is nothing new for the Dukes, who have gotten good goalie play all year. They’re third in the Atlantic 10 in goals against average with 7.46.
Scerbo liked his goalies’ play against Bucknell.
“The goalies do a good job together. Kristen Gregory has been our starter all year and she will continue to be our starter. She steps up and makes big plays,” Scerbo said.
Leading the way for the Dukes was Hurley, who put home five goals on six shots. Scerbo liked seeing her passion.
“I love seeing her being aggressive going towards the cage. She is 5-10 and she can run like a deer. We are encouraging her to be aggressive to the cage,” he said. “She is going to be a big factor for us as we enter A10 play next week.”
Senior midfielder Caitlin Prince turned in a big game with four goals. Marafioti, meanwhile, netted three goals with one assist, one ground ball and one caused turnover to go along.
Not only did the Dukes get some of the younger players some minutes, they also continued to tweak a new defensive scheme.
“One of the things we have done the past few games is we are running a new defense. It is called a backer defense,” Scerbo said. “We want to be able to have that as a look for us as we go into A10 play.”
On Saturday Robert Morris will come to the Bluff for a 1 p.m. faceoff with the Dukes. Marafioti always circles this game on her calendar.
“One of my closest friends [Stacy Wade, defensemen] plays on the team. So that is always exciting. She is a senior, also, so it is kind of like the last time to really battle it out,” she said.