Lacrosse Falls Short In Two NEC Contests

Shaina Blakesley and Daniel Fappiano

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In the quest for its first win in Northeast Conference play, the Central Connecticut lacrosse team was plagued by poor first half performances that led to two home losses, including senior day on Saturday.

The Blue Devils faced a tall task on Thursday, as Mount St. Mary’s had yet to lose an NEC contest. They were unable to hand the Mount its first defeat, falling 16-5.

The Mountaineers got off to a hot start, finding the goal 13 times in the first half, including an 8-0 run at one point.

Head coach Betsy Vendel said the key to stopping a streak as such is to make adjustments on the fly.

“We know what the problem was, we talked about it, it shouldn’t take a different defense for those same things to come through,” Vendel said. “We should make the adjustment and just do it, we say it, we just got to do it.”

The Blue Devils made the right adjustments in the second half, matching the Mountaineers with three goals en route to the 16-5 defeat.

“Great second half. We switched our defense and that definitely helped,” Vendel said. “Our attack didn’t have a bad day, we kept shooting they have a really strong goalie, kudos to them. It’s just finding that fire in the first half, instead of looking to play while we are down, it’s looking to play when we’re ahead.”

Vendel commended the team’s offensive depth as five players scored.

“I love that we share stats and everyone contributes from freshmen to seniors. Everyone works hard for it,” Vendel said. “We are trusting our teammates to make the right decisions, but you got to shoot to score goals.”

During the last hoorah for the team’s seniors at home on Saturday, the Blue Devils lost to Wagner 17-6, but much like Thursday’s contest, they improved greatly in the second half.

The game marked the final time Carson Adelberger, Jackie Branthover, Jane Henry and Alaigra Usher would play at Arute Field.

After trailing 11-2 at the half, the Blue Devils were outscored just 6-4 in the second period.

“We definitely kept switching up our defense, we were getting more caused turnovers because we were switching things up just to keep them on their toes,” Vendel said.

Vendel said it is in-game adjustments that have led to slow first-half starts by switching up the defense two to three times during the matchup.

“Realistically, it keeps them on their toes and they don’t get complacent in what defense they’re in because they always have to adjust to it,” Vendel said.

Adelberger and Usher each contributed a second-half goal in their final game as a Blue Devil.

Despite the improvement, the Blue Devils struggled on the attack all day, turning the ball over 18 times, something Vendel attributed to poor stick work.

Vendel believes harnessing their second-half play could propel the team in the upcoming games as they travel to Pennsylvania to take on Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA) next weekend. The Red Flash have just one conference win, providing a strong opportunity for the Blue Devils.

“If we play the second half how we’ve been playing the whole game, it’s going to be good,” Vendel said. “They know how hard they have to play. They know they have to come out in the beginning in order to win and I think they’re ready for it.”