Union Downs Eastern to Advance

Schenectady, NY Union (13-4) scored the first goal of the game and never looked back as they defeated Eastern University (Pa.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship at Frank Bailey Field. The Dutchwomen were firing on all cylinders with five-goal performances from Caitlin Cuozzo (Norfolk, MA/King Philip Regional) and Robyn Ross (Newton, MA/Newton North), while Rachel Beckman (Needham, MA/Needham) made 13 saves in goal. The Eagles were led by their top scorer Kate Hoy, who had four goals and one assist. It was the second NCAA Tournament win in five appearances for Union, getting its very first win against Nazareth back in 2002 at Amherst.

Union went right to work by winning the opening draw and marching down field to score just 43 seconds in. Sophomore Kerri Messa (Saratoga Springs, NY/Hotchkiss School) put in her 23rd goal of the season and first of four on the afternoon.

Hoy tied the game at 7:19 scoring in transition off a Union turnover for her 64th goal of the season. The Dutchwomen responded 41 seconds later to regain the advantage, scoring once again off the draw. Sophomore Erin Lawson (Flourtown, PA/Springside) sent a lead pass in the middle to Alexandra Toney (Bayville, NY/Locust Valley) who converted her 45th goal of the season.

The Dutchwomen made it 5-2 after Cuozzo scored her second goal of the game at 12:50 off a feed from Caitlin Milbury (Lynfield, MA/Tabor Academy). Eastern pulled to within a goal by scoring the next two, making it 5-4. Jessie Basch scored off an assist from Hoy at 16:57 before Hoy notched an unassisted tally at 11:57.

Union pulled away with four unanswered goals to close out the half. Cuozzo started the run with two of those scores and Messa capped things off with four seconds left.

Eastern came out and controlled play in the opening minutes of the second half to create chances but put three straight point-blank shots wide of the net. The fourth time was a charm getting a goal from Julianne Ferguson from Diana Diffenderfer.

Union put together another four-goal run after that to put the game out of reach. Lawson and Messa scored in between a pair of goals by Ross, who made it 13-5 at 16:20. Hoy scored the last Eastern goal with 11:56 to play and Ross capped things off for Union with the final goal at 23:59.

Beckman made 13 saves, two under her season high, including several close range shots to pick up the win. On the other end Alesha Bennett made 11 saves in the loss.

Union held a 17-8 advantage in draw controls and outshot Eastern 43-27. Each team had one free position goal. The Dutchwomen will now face Middlebury in the second round regional on May 13th at 11:30 AM in Middlebury, VT.


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