WLAX falls to St. Bonaventure at home

Dylan Fister | Staff Photographer | Members of the Duquesne women’s lacrosse team gather in a huddle during Wednesday’s 16-15 loss against St. Bonaventure at Rooney Field. It was the Dukes’ fifth-straight loss.

Matthew Theodros | Staff Writer

March 23, 2023

The Duquesne women’s lacrosse team lost its fifth-straight game, falling to St. Bonaventure 16-15 at Rooney Field on Wednesday afternoon in heartbreaking fashion.

Coming into the matchup, the Dukes historically had an overwhelming advantage over the Bonnies, beating them in 11 of their last 12 matchups prior to Wednesday.

Delaney Rodriguez-Shaw scored the game’s first goal just 27 seconds into the game, as she bullied through the defense and put Duquesne in front early.

The Bonnies responded with three-consecutive goals from Abby Hiltz, Kassi Hogan and Courtney Fox.

The offense was not clicking throughout the rest of the first quarter for the Dukes, as Chelsea Evans scored their only other goal of the opening frame.

After St. Bonaventure scored two quick goals to begin the second quarter, Duquesne freshman Mia Failla scored the first goal of her young career to trim the Bonnies’ lead to 6-3.

Mackenzie Leszczynski made her presence felt for the Dukes, having an automatic impact on the game. She scored four of the game’s next six goals in just a 6:51 span, cutting Duquesne’s deficit to just one goal at 8-7.

However, two last-minute scores from St. Bonaventure’s Brook Piper and Cassie Hogan — including a beautiful buzzer-beating score from Hogan — gave the Bonnies a 10-7 edge entering halftime.

Duquesne defender Hanna Pawela spoke after the game on how important it is to maintain defensive intensity throughout the game.

“Our defense fought to the end, but I think we need to work on coming out strong because we get down early in these games,” Pawela said.

Momentum swayed in the Dukes’ favor at the start of the third quarter. Leszczynski scored her fifth-straight goal to make it a two-goal game. Rodriguez-Shaw (twice) and Evans scored three of the game’s next four goals after that, knotting the score at 11 with 4:54 to go in the third quarter.

From then on, however, the Bonnies created separation with four-straight scores to push their lead to 15-11.

Duquesne kept pushing behind a ricochet-rebound score from Leszczynski. She finished the day with six goals, one shy of her career-high mark.

With 3:58 left in the game, Jessica Notaro scored her third goal of the day for St. Bonaventure, pushing the team’s lead to a seemingly comfortable four goals (16-12).

In the game’s final 1:49, Rodriguez-Shaw found the back of the net three times – including once with a lone second to go – to bring the Dukes to within a goal. However, proper game management and clock burning from the Bonnies made a Duquesne comeback virtually impossible.

The loss pushed Duquesne to 1-8 overall, and 0-3 in Atlantic 10 Conference action. The Dukes still have yet to win a game at Rooney Field.

The second half saw huge defensive improvement from the team as they locked in and limited scoring opportunities.

Goaltender Mady Piersielak was excited about the potential and growth of the defense after their improved performance.

“We made so many stops on defense today,” Piersielak said. “Our slides were there, our second slides were there. I saw so much improvement out there.”

Piersielak gave credit to Pawella and her effect on the defense.

“She did a great job on defense,” Piersielak said. “She was getting charges, making stops and getting a ton of ground balls and draw controls.”

Duquesne Head Coach Corinne Desrosiers spoke highly of her team, while also detailing the emotions after such a close game.

“They are frustrated,” Desrosiers said. “They want to win, and I know we are [going to] keep fighting every day, and that’s all I can ask from these girls. This is the first team I’ve had since I’ve been at Duquesne that I can legitimately say [that] everyone wants this for each other.”

The Dukes will be back in action Saturday afternoon when they are hosted by George Mason.

Duquesne won its last meeting against George Mason 18-13 on Apr. 14, 2022, and the Dukes will look to win their second game of the season.