YORK, PA – After an extremely sluggish start, the York College women's lacrosse team stepped up their play and cruised to 15-5 Capital Athletic Conference victory over Frostburg State University.
The win breaks the school record for victories in a season as the Spartans are now 12-3 overall and 5-3 in the CAC. With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 4-11 overall and 3-5 in the league.
The Spartans got on the board first when freshman Kerri Nicolich converted a free position chance just under six minutes into the game. The Bobcats answered with a Malory Brunett goal just over three minutes later. The teams alternated two more goals each as Brunett tied the game for a third time with her third goal at the 12:54 mark of the first half.
Spartan mentor Jen Dragoni wanted to give the youthful Spartans a chance to figure it out on their own but was finally forced to call a timeout with 6:24 remaining in the half. The timeout seemed to shake the Spartans from their doldrums as they scored three goals over the final 3:40 of the half to take a 6-3 advantage to the break.
At halftime, Dragoni challenged her team to step up and play better in the second half.
"I told them before the game that Frostburg was not going to come in here and roll over for them, " stated the Spartan head coach. "I told them that we could talk about all the things that we were doing wrong in the first half but what it came down to is that we needed players to step up and before better. Fortunately for us, there were a number of players in the second half that did just that."
The Spartans began a scoring onslaught in the second half as they tallied five goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, pushing the lead to 11-3.
While the Spartan offense was cruising along, the Green and White defensive unit responded by holding the Bobcats scoreless for 38:36 during the game. The stingy defense allowed the Spartans to turn a 3-3 tie into a 13-3 lead before FSU's Taylor Cassett found the back of the net with 8:30 remaining in the game.
The Spartans notched two of the final three goals of the game to provide for the final 15-5 margin of victory.
Nicolich and Toni DiLeonardi led the Spartans with three goals and an assist for four points each as eight Spartans scored at least one goal in the win. Freshman Erica Mulford and Kasie White each contributed two goals and an assist for three points while Kimberly Nicolich had a pair of goals for York.
The Spartans had 11 of their 15 goals scored by freshman while three of the remaining four came from sophomores.
Brunett paced Frostburg as she notched four goals in the loss.
The Spartans split their goaltending duties between Tina Nicklas and Kelsey Evans. Nicklas played the first half and earned the win with three saves in her 30 minutes of work. Evans played well with a save in her second half of play.
Karoline Miller registered 12 saves between the pipes for the Bobcats. She played all 60 minutes and allowed the 15 Spartan goals.
York outshot the Bobcats 34-14 while they also held a 21-16 advantage in ground balls. York forced 19 Frostburg turnovers while the Green and White had 14 miscues in the contest. York was sharp on their free position shots in the game as they converted 5-of-10 attempts while Frostburg was 1-for-3.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday, April 16 when they open play in the 2011 Capital Athletic Conference tournament. The Spartans will be facing St. Mary's College in the opening round with the site to be determined after the Seahawks play their final regular season game this week. Please check www.ycpspartans.com for the most up-to-date information on the Spartan women's lacrosse CAC tournament schedule.
Top photo: Kerri Nicolich tallied three goals and an assist for the Spartans (Photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com). Bottom photo: Toni DiLeonardi also had three goals and assist for York (Photo courtesy of Scott Guise)