Dominant 2nd Half Leads Manhattanville to Rout of Wilkes

PURCHASE, N.Y. The Manhattanville women's lacrosse team outscored Wilkes University 13-1 and missed only two shots in a dominant final 30 minutes of play as the Valiants picked up their first win of the 2010 season with an easy 20-5 victory over the Colonels in Middle Atlantic Conference action on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at GoValiants.com Field.

The Manhattanville offense was greatly spread out on the afternoon, as nine different Valiants found the back of the net at least once. Leading the way was senior Kirsten Spelman (Lynbrook, N.Y.), who set new career highs with four goals and five points, while a trio of Valiants junior Jen Ascencio (Monroe, N.Y.) and freshmen Lauren Rutledge (Mahopac, N.Y.) and Melissa Goncalves (Holtsville, N.Y.) each netted three.

A pair of Valiants, freshman Agbogo Kalu (Elmont, N.Y.) and sophomore Nicole Catapano (Franklin Square, N.Y.), also recorded their first collegiate goals in the win, with Kalu adding a second tally for good measure.

The home team had some good moments in the first half, but the team only went into halftime with a 7-4 lead. Its biggest lead of the frame came with 1:30 left, when Spelman netted her second from Ascencio to put the Valiants up by four. But a Colonel goal by Erica Sundberg with two seconds left seemingly gave the visitors some momentum headed into the half.

However, that assumption would be proven terribly false in the second half, as Manhattanville scored twice in the opening minute and proceed to score nine more times in the next 10 minutes on the way to a backbreaking 12-0 run to start the frame.

The key to Manhattanville's success early in the second half was on draw controls, of which the team had lost 8 of 11 in the first 30 minutes. On each of the first four draws of the second, the Valiants took the ball and almost immediately put it into the back of the net, beginning with Goncalves' second of the game 29 seconds into the frame.

Rutledge then netted her first of the afternoon 24 seconds later after junior Darby Webber (Walpole, Mass.) corralled the draw. Soon after, when Goncalves and Rutledge again scored only 15 seconds apart in next minute, the rout was on in Purchase. When the initial dust had cleared, Manhattanville had a 19-4 lead with 15:24 left in the contest, and the home team took their collective foot off the pedal the rest of the way.

The Valiants were incredibly efficient on the offensive end in the second half, putting all 13 of their shots on goal into the net and missing just two shots wide. The team also won 11 of the 15 contested draws in the second half, allowing the squad easy and frequent access to the goal.

On the defensive end, Manhattanville forced Wilkes into 20 turnovers and held the visitors to just 14 shots on goal.

And when the shots made it to net, the Valiant netminders were there to back up the defense. Junior Kirstin Betsill (Parkton, Md.) earned the victory by holding Wilkes to four goals on 10 shots in the first 44:12, including stoning the Colonels on all five free-position attempts. Sophomore Carolyn Levine (Medford, N.Y.) came on for the final 15:48 and also looked good, stopping all four eight-meter attempts against her and allowing just one goal.

In all, the Valiants went 4 of 6 from the eight-meter line on the afternoon, while Wilkes suffered through an 0 for 9 outing.

Manhattanville (1-5, 1-1 MAC) will take to the road for the next two games, beginning with a key Middle Atlantic Conference contest at FDU-Florham on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. Wilkes (0-1, 0-1 MAC) will host FDU-Florham on Monday at 4:00 p.m.

2010-03-20



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