Women’s Lacrosse: Cadets Crowned Champions After Defeating Lasell, 12-8
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The 2011 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship game was held on Howard Field on Sunday afternoon between the #2 Lasell College Lasers and the #1 Norwich University Cadets.
In the tight, competitive battle for the title, the Norwich Cadets were crowned Champions after defeating the Lasers, 12-8, earning them the GNAC Championship Title back-to-back for their 2010 and 2011 season successes.
For the Cadets, freshman Grace Fitzpatrick, who was later named the tournament's "Most Valuable Player", netted five goals and was 3-for-3 on her free position shots.
Juniors Kacey Abbriano and Danielle Del Dotto each put in a pair of goals, along with freshman Courtney Saheim. Assists were collected by Abbriano, Saheim and one by junior Mollie Fitzpatrick, with senior Chelsea Martin adding two helpers.
For the Lasers, Ashley Slattery, Britney Wuorio, and Tina Canavan all put in two goals apiece, while Neila Kudla scored a point and Bridget Ryan came off the bench to find the back of the net on one attempt.
In net, Kristin Coderre was a key player for Lasell in their fight for the title, as she made an impressive 11 saves. For the Cadets, senior Kellie Pickel protected the net with five saves, finishing the season with a 7-2 record in goal.
It was the tightest played game of the season, as Lasell refused to allow Norwich much leeway, keeping the score within one or two goals for the majority of play.
It was the lasers who put themselves on the board first, with a goal by Slattery, but the Cadets soon came back with four straight points, each netted by a different maroon and gold player.
Two Lasell goals in the later part of the half brought that game within one point, but the Lasers were unable to tally that tying goal in the last five minutes before the buzzer. They did, however, immediately make it 4-all once the whistle started the second half.
Stretching their lead back to three, Norwich made it a 7-4 game on back-to-back free position goals by Abbriano and Fitzpatrick. Martin found Del Dotto open for a sniper shot and the Cadets took back their 3-goal advantage.
Neila Kudla got one past Pickel for a Lasell goal. However, two minutes later an incredible combo between Saheim and Del Dotto developed, as Saheim set up the play from behind the net, finding Del Dotto open on the side and just when you thought there was no angle for a shot, the ball swished into the back of the net and the Cadets were now ahead 8-5.
Canavan and Slattery put the pressure back on Norwich and the Lasers were soon at a one-goal deficit which represented quite a threat for the home team with less than 14 minutes left to play.
The Fitzpatrick sisters combined yet again for their third sister-combo in the postseason. Mollie found Grace open for the shot at the 12:46 mark. At 12:30, however, Norwich was still looking at a one-goal lead after Wuorio quickly answered back for Lasell.
Home field advantage, a supportive and energetic crowd, and the warm spring weather combined to make for a perfect day for a Championship game, and the Cadets knew it. Two more free position shots by Grace and an unassisted goal by Saheim were the final plays, and after possessing the ball for the remaining 4:34 minutes, denying the Lasers a chance for a comeback, the buzzer sounded and the Norwich Cadets were crowned champions.
The Lasell Lasers wrapped up their season with a 11-6 overall record, and the Cadets are currently 10-2 and will await to find out the when's, where's, and who's of the NCAA Tournament's first round. Stay tuned to www.norwichathletics.com for that information.
Norwich still has one more game to be played before wrapping up their regular season, as they'll travel to Green Mountain on Wednesday for a 3:30 p.m. face-off.
Announced to the 2011 GNAC All-Tournament team at this time are the following athletes:
Grace Fitzpatrick – Norwich – MVP
Kellie Pickel – Norwich
Jillian Balasco – Norwich
Kacey Abbriano – Norwich
Mollie Fitzpatrick – Norwich
Kristen Coderre – Lasell
Tina Canavan – Lasell
Ashley Slattery – Lasell
Ebony Mills – Mount Ida
Jeileen Rivera – Mount Ida
Chelsea Phillips – Emerson
Emily Saeger - Emerson