Hartwick Comes Up Short in Empire 8 Opener at Utica

UTICA, NY An early deficit was too much to overcome on Saturday as Hartwick fell short in its Empire 8 Conference opener at Utica College, 10-6. The Hawks fall to 4-4 overall while the Pioneers improve to 4-2.

The Hawks surrendered the first four goals of the game but battled the Pioneers 6-6 the rest of the way. 'Wick pulled to within two at halftime. Trailing by five in the second half, they were able to trim the deficit to three deep into the period but could get no closer.

Hartwick freshman Emily Jweid (Marcy, NY/Whitesboro HS) paced the offense with two goals on the day. Senior Brittany LaVaute (Skaneateles, NY/Skaneateles HS) contributed a goal and an assist. Junior Erica Scicchitano (Centerport, NY/Harborfields HS) was a standout on defense. She recorded a career-high seven caused turnovers, tied a career-best with nine ground balls, and registered a season-high five draw controls.

The Pioneers closed the match with a slim advantage in shots, 24-22. Hartwick held the edge in both ground balls (35-34) and draws (11-8).

Utica jumped out on top just 1:16 into the game on a Kaitlyn Banker free-position goal but the game remained a one-goal game until the mid-way point of the half. The Hawks held a decisive 5-2 advantage in shots over the next 13 minutes of action. Jweid fired two shots and LaVaute and Ali Sisco (Kendall Park, NJ/South Brunswick HS) had one each but all of them were stopped by reigning Empire 8 Goalkeeper of the Year Shelby Barbay.

UC increased its advantage to four with three goals in a 3:44 span later in the half. Patricia Kane, Maria Santucci, and Samantha Gebler scored for the Pioneers and Banker picked up two assists in the surge.

The Hawks responded with three of the next four goals in the final 9:48 of the half to pull within two goals. Sisco got the Hawks on the board off a LaVaute assist and Jweid tallied on a free-position effort to make the score 4-2. Kane added UC's fifth tally with 2:39 left but Scicchitano scored for 'Wick from Caroline Stanford (Skaneateles, NY/Skaneateles HS) with one minute left to trim the Pioneer lead to 5-3 at the break.

The Pioneers controlled the early going of the second half as they out-shot the Hawks 6-1 over the first 13 minutes. Hartwick keeper Steph Luce (Saratoga Springs, NY/Saratoga Springs HS), however, stopped three UC shots in the span to keep it a two-goal game.

Three goals from Megan Kane, Janet Campo, and Patricia Kane in a 3:07 spurt would give the hosts an 8-3 edge with 14:51 to play. The Hawks battled back though, with Jweid scoring her second with 14:20 left and Lisa Littleton (Yorktown, NY/Yorktown HS) adding a goal on a free-position shot with 11:43 left to make the score 8-5.

The Hawks had two chances to further cut the deficit with under 11 minutes left. Hannah Kennedy (Avon, CT/Avon HS) fired high from in close and Littleton had her shot denied by Barbay

The Pioneers tacked on their ninth goal as Megan Kane tallied on the free-position. LaVaute quickly countered as she won the draw and then beat Barbay for the Hawks' final goal to make the score 9-6.

Kennedy had another chance with six and a half minutes left and LaVaute had shots with 1:55 to play and another with 1:21 left but Barbay stopped all three chances. Santucci closed out the day's scoring with 17 seconds left to seal it for Utica.

Luce ended the game with eight saves in cage. She also added six ground balls. LaVaute also had six ground balls for 'Wick and she caused four UC turnovers. Kennedy caused three miscues by the hosts.

Patricia Kane led UC with three goals. Santucci and Megan Kane each had two. Barbay made nine saves. Both Barbay and Megan Kane grabbed seven ground balls. Keala King and Megan Kane each caused five Hawk turnovers.

Hartwick returns home on Friday, April 6 against Alfred. The Hawks and Saxons meet at 4:00 p.m. at Wright Stadium.

2012-03-31



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