Second Half Surge Propels Pioneers Past Wagner, 12-10

STATEN ISLAND, NY (March 25, 2012) - The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team erased a 7-5 halftime deficit with seven second half goals on their way to a 2-0 start to Northeast Conference play, beating Wagner 12-10 Sunday afternoon.  Sophomore Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY) scored four goals to lead the SHU attack, hitting on two of three 8-meter attempts.

The Seahawks (5-5, 0-2 NEC) erased a 5-2 Sacred Heart (3-5, 2-0 NEC) lead thanks to a 5-0 run to close out the first half.  Russo scored twice as the Pioneers opened a 4-1 lead just over 12 minutes into play.  Sophomore Samantha Villafranca (Wading River, NY) made it 5-2 scoring unassisted with 14:04 left in the first half.

Wagner's Carolyn Clark started the Seahawk rally at 12:37 off a feed from Erika Bulken and was followed just 33 seconds later by Michela Galante.  Clark set up teammate Lauren Petrik to tie the game at 5-5 at the 6:29 mark.  Galante and Denieda McCullough closed out the first half scoring sending the Pioneers into the break chasing a two-goal Wagner lead.

The Pioneers dominated the second half, out shooting Wagner 19-8 while converting on three of six 8-meter free position shots.  SHU also took advantage in the draw circle, winning seven of 10.  Senior Aurelie Pluijmakers (Freehold, NY) opened the second half with a goal off a feed from Emily Pepe (East Quogue, NY) just 1:39 in.  After nearly a 10 minute scoring drought, Wagner answered at 19:13 from Melanie Garces.

SHU grabbed control of the game over the next nine minutes, running off three-straight to take the lead back.  Senior Kaitlin Rochler (Wading River, NY), Russo and senior Alyssa Dorsey (Massapequa, NY) scored to put SHU up 9-8 with 10:53 left.  Wagner's Clark tied it at 9-9 just over a minute later but another three-goal run by the Pioneers put the game away.

Russo and Rochler each converted on 8-meter attempts for man-up goals and freshman Taylor Babin (Ellicott City, MD) added some insurance with 2:31 left to send the Pioneers to 2-0 in the NEC this weekend.

Russo added six draw controls and four ground balls to her totals on the day.  Rochler and Pluijmakers each scored twice.

The Pioneers will be at home next weekend playing host to Monmouth on Friday and Mount St. Mary's on Sunday.

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