FAIRFIELD, CT (April 21, 2013) - The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team closed out the 2013 season Sunday afternoon with a 16-8 win over visiting Robert Morris in Northeast Conference action. The Pioneers dominated the draw circle 22-3 in the win and were led by four goals from junior Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY).
It was Senior Day on Sunday as the Pioneers honored their three graduating seniors in sisters Emily Pepe (East Quogue, NY) and Megan Pepe (East Quogue, NY) and Morgan Merriman (Seattle, WA) before the game. Emily Pepe would go on to finish with three goals and two assists in helping the Pioneers to their fifth NEC win on the year.
SHU (6-9, 5-4 NEC) held the NEC's leading scoring team to eight goals led by sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Keenan (Wantagh, NY) who made 12 saves, tying her season-high. Junior Shelby Vaccaro (Brightwaters, NY) matched Pepe with three goals and two assists as well.
The Pioneers finished with a season-high 22 draw controls on Sunday and held RMU's Jessica Karawcki, who came in the NCAA record holder with 152, to none. SHU dominated possession in the second half, winning all 11 draws while finishing the game on 6-0 run.
The two teams play a tight opening 11 minutes, tied at 3-3 on the scoreboard. SHU's Pepe and Vacarro went unassisted at 18:19 and 13:41 to go up 5-3 and Pepe fed Brianna Schussler (Wantagh, NY) at 10:40 to open up a three goal lead. The first half scoring ended with four-straight free position goals, two off the sticks of RMU's Talia Waskowicz and Brittany Byerly only to be followed by SHU's Taylor Babin (Ellicot City, MD) and Vaccaro for an 8-5 halftime lead.
The Pioneers extended their lead to 10-5 by the 21:13 mark of the second half as Babin and Vaccaro opened the scoring in the second stanza. The Colonials got hot and tacked on three-straight, all set up by Karwacki who fed Jessica Rutherford for the first two. After she set up Waskowicz's second goal at 13:02 to cut the SHU lead to 10-8, the Pioneers used a time-out to regroup, especially after just losing Vaccaro to her second yellow card.
Out of the break, the Pioneers responded and ripped off six-straight while blanking the Colonials over the final 13 minutes to ice away a season-ending win. Russo buried an 8-meter attempt at 12:23 and followed with two more on the rally.
Pepe notched her third on the day at 4:40 while freshman Alison Braig (Reistertown, MD) scored her second to close the scoring at 3:16. Braig finished with eight draw controls to led the Pioneer's dominance on the day.
Pepe finishes her SHU career with 163 career points on 76 goals and 87 assists. She finishes second all time in career assists in the Sacred Heart record book.