Pioneers Earn 12-8 NEC Win Over Wagner

FAIRFIELD, CT (April 5, 2013) - The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team scored 12 goals on just 19 shots Friday afternoon to come away with a 12-8 Northeast Conference win over visiting Wagner College.  Junior Shelby Vaccaro (Brightwaters, NY) scored five goals and assisted on another to lead the Pioneers to a 2-2 mark in NEC play.

The Pioneers (3-7, 2-2 NEC) efficient offense was complemented by a steady defense that kept Wagner of the scoreboard for a stretch of 38:37 between the first and second halves.  SHU rang off eight-straight during the Seahawks' scoreless drought to grab control.

SHU's Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY) opened the scoring 1:01 into play on an 8-meter attempt but Wagner goals by Shea Gegan and Gretchen Fay gave the Seahawks a 2-1 lead at the 24:54 mark.  From there SHU held the Seahawks at bay until 16:43 of the second half in building a 9-2 lead.

Vaccaro scored four of her five goals on the run while senior Emily Pepe (East Quogue, NY) scored her lone goal and assisted on three others to fuel the rally.  Freshman Jenna Liljeberg (Wrentham, MA) started the rally at 12:14 and was followed by Pepe at 4:47.  Pepe fed Vacarro for two goals at 4:04 and with 28 seconds left to carry SHU into the half up 5-2.

Russo opened the second half scoring at 24:03 and tacked on her third off a feed from Pepe.  Vaccaro scored on an 8-meter attempt at 17:30 to give SHU an 8-2 lead.  Wagner's Gegan halted the rally and ended their drought with a scored at 16:43.  SHU scored right off the ensuing draw as freshman Jesslyn Joseph (Bolton, MA) buried a feed from sophomore Taylor Babin (Ellicott City, MD) just 16 seconds later.

The Pioneers built their lead to 12-4 as Liljeberg scored at 11:47 and Vaccaro closed out the SHU scoring at 10:20 with her second free position goal of the afternoon.  The Seahawks made a late run with four-straight goals but the Pioneers where able to weather the storm, forcing Wagner into long possessions before their scores.  Gegan scored her third on the game closing rally.

SHU held the NEC's top-point producer in Jessica Mills, 46 points coming in, to just a pair of assists in the loss.  Junior Samantha Villafranca (Wading River, NY) finished with three caused turnovers and four ground balls in the win.  In the cage, sophomore Kelly Keenan (Wantagh, NY) posted seven saves to earn the win.

The Pioneers are right back at home on Sunday afternoon when they play host to the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds at 1:00 pm.

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