Matthew Theodros | Staff Writer
March 30, 2023
The Duquesne women’s lacrosse team lost its seventh-consecutive game in its final non-conference matchup of the season against UC Davis 20-13 at Rooney Field on Wednesday afternoon.
This was only the third all-time meeting between the Dukes and Aggies, and the first since April 15, 2005. Prior to Wednesday, Duquesne had won the previous two games.
Entering the game, UC Davis ranked ninth in all of NCAA Division I in scoring.
Duquesne assistant coach Leah Fazio spoke on how this particular matchup between the programs — separated by over 2,500 miles — came to be.
“They were here on their spring break, and they were already playing [Robert Morris],” Fazio said. It was a good game to get in our schedule and prepare for the harder part of our conference.”
The Aggies’ duo of Grace Gebhardt (two goals) and Alex Agnew (assists on both goals) teamed up to give UC Davis a 2-0 edge just 55 seconds into the game, but Duquesne responded with four-straight goals.
The Dukes would then surrender four-straight goals of their own to UC Davis, who closed the opening quarter with a 6-4 advantage, including Gebhardt’s third score of the quarter.
Duquesne and UC Davis traded blows in the second quarter, with each team scoring six goals in the quarter. Duquesne’s Delaney Rodriguez-Shaw scored three of her team-high-tying five goals in the quarter. Mackenzie Leszczynski also netted one of her five goals on the afternoon during the quarter.
Rodriguez-Shaw has been on an offensive tear this season. After Wednesday’s performance, her season goal total is at 39, putting her in the top 10 among Division I players in scoring.
After UC Davis scored the second of back-to-back goals to give itself a 10-8 lead with 4:46 in the second quarter, Duquesne goalie Mady Piersielak subbed in for Megan LaBorne. Fazio spoke on LaBorne’s performance, especially given that it was her first-career start.
“I was proud of Meg,” Fazio said. “She did a good job stepping up to the plate, and that’s hard for a freshman to do.”
Duquesne cut the deficit to one goal, but a gut-punching score from the Aggies’ Alannah Scott with three seconds remaining in the half allowed UC Davis to take a multi-goal lead (12-10) into the break.
Scott had herself a day, dominating the Dukes with a game-high and career-high seven goals. Prior to Wednesday’s game, she’d never scored more than three goals in a game.
The third quarter was stale for both teams. It was an offensive dry spell that saw teams fail to score until the 4:07 mark, when Leszczynski scored an unassisted goal. That was the Dukes’ lone goal of the quarter, while UC Davis scored three times.
Fazio spoke on the team’s mindset on offense, especially regarding offensive struggles and long scoring droughts.
“We obviously have to work on possession and being able to take care of the ball on our side,” Fazio said.
UC Davis entered the final quarter leading 15-11, and would outscore the Dukes 5-2 in the final frame en route to a seven-goal victory. The 20 goals allowed were the most Duquesne has surrendered to an opponent this season.
However, there were plenty of positives from the defensive end, including a shot-clock violation for UC Davis which stemmed from the Dukes tenacious defense. They only allowed one free-position score, which is a season low.
Game to game, Duquesne’s defense has switched from a variation of man to zone.
“Today we played a new man defense, which was great for us to try out,” Fazio said. “The zone was something we were playing with in the past games, but there were parts we wanted to take away from it.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the game for Duquesne was turnovers. They finished the day with 19 combined turnovers.
LaBorne spoke on the turnovers and attributed them to the flow of the game.
“Some of them were unlucky,” LaBorne said. “Some of them were forced, [others] were unforced. It’s just the controllables, things we can affect. We will definitely be working on it more.”
The Dukes return to Atlantic 10 Conference action on Saturday, when they host VCU. Duquesne has not defeated the Rams since April 8, 2016, having dropped five in a row to VCU.