The Sacred Heart University women's lacrosse team rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to defeat Northeast Conference host Saint Francis U Sunday afternoon. The victory improves the Pioneers to 3-7 overall and 1-1 in the league, while the Red Flash fall to 4-6 on the season and are also 1-1 in conference play.
The Red Flash jumped out to a 4-0 lead just 7:12 into the game, but the Pioneers rallied scoring four of the next five goals, with Jenna Liljeberg, Shelby Vaccaro, twice, and Brianna Schussler netted goals to make it 5-4 SFU with 7:46 to play in the first-half. Danielle Conwell scored for the Red Flash with 6:00 remaining until halftime, which was answered by Jesslyn Joseph with 1:33 to play, sending the game to intermission with the Pioneers trailing 6-5.
The Pioneers jumped out quickly in the second-half, with Vaccaro tying the game 1:59 into the period and Alyssa Pearce giving Sacred Heart its first lead, 7-6, 3:02 later. Pearce scored again with 19:42 to play in regulation, which was followed by a Schussler free position goal at the 18:58 mark to give SHU the 9-6 advantage. Demi Lopez netted the Pioneers sixth consecutive goal with 16:23 to play in the second to push Sacred Heart's lead to four, 10-6.
An 8-meter tally for Katie Schaaf at the 15:33 mark ended Sacred Heart's run and the two teams alternated goals over the next 5:24, with the score 11-8 in favor of the Pioneers. Caitlin Delaney (8:17), Vaccaro (7:52), and Schussler (6:54) scored three in an 83 seconds span to push the advantage to 14-8. Saint Francis scored twice in the final 5:26 for the final margin.
Kelly Keenan made seven saves in earning the win for Sacred Heart. She allowed nine goals in 59:59 of action, picked up two ground balls and caused a turnover. Delaney and Lopez both had three ground balls to lead the team in that category, while Alison Braig and Joseph both recorded three draw controls.
Vaccaro had six points on the afternoon, with four goals, while Schussler, Pearce, Delaeny, Joseph, and Liljeberg all had multi-point games as well.
The Pioneers took fewer shots, 21-18, in the game, but finished with a 14-13 edge in ground balls. Both teams had 13 draw controls in the game and both finished with three free position shots.
Savannah Shores allowed 11 goals, against two saves, in her 48:20 of action as the starter for SFU. Heather McKee finished off the final 11:20, allowing three goals. Conwell scored six points, four goals, for the Red Flash, while Kimberly Gronski picked up a game-best six ground balls.
The Pioneers begin a three game homestand on Friday, April 11 versus Mount St. Mary's. The game is set for 3 p.m. on Campus Field.