WASHINGTON – The Stetson lacrosse team (2-13, 2-2) earned its second straight victory on Friday, defeating Howard (1-15, 0-3) by a score of 18-13 in our nation’s capital. The win clinched the Hatters a berth in next weekend’s Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in Jacksonville.
After a long trip to Washington, Stetson got out to a slow start on the field, falling behind 4-1 after eight minutes of action. Howard’s Cynthia Smalls scored three goals in that span to get the Bison out to a strong start.
Sophomore Samantha Akl, who scored the lone early goal for the Hatters, came back with two more to ignite a Stetson rally midway through the first half. A pair of unassisted scores by freshman Danielle Horgan gave the Hatters their first lead of the game, at 5-4, with 9:22 to play in the first.
Freshman Maylis Broderick ended the period by scoring a goal and assisting on another. The midfielder’s pass to Akl with less than a minute remaining led to the latter’s fourth goal, and gave Stetson a 7-4 advantage at the break.
Stetson extended its run to nine straight scores by putting three in the back of the net to open the second frame. Freshmen Paige Levesque, Noelle Morabito, and Mary Kate O’Sullivan each scored to give the Hatters a commanding 10-4 lead with 21:07 to play.
After Smalls scored her fourth goal to cut it to 10-5, O’Sullivan on another Levesque goal, and then scored one for herself to give Stetson a 12-5 lead with 15:35 to play. It was then that a weather delay halted the game.
Returning to action, the Hatters didn’t lose momentum, as sophomore Elisabeth Blackwell scored her first goal of the season just over 30 seconds into play. O’Sullivan put another one in the back of the net off of an assist by freshman Danielle Horgan to give the Hatters a nine goal advantage.
Howard outscored Stetson 8-4 for the rest of the contest, but it was too late. The Hatters cruised to the 18-13 victory thanks to two goals from O’Sullivan, and one each from Levesque and Horgan during the final six minutes of play.
O’Sullivan led the Hatters with five goals and two assists in the victory. Akl added four goals and three assists, while Horgan and Levesque chipped in with three scores apiece. Broderick and freshman Hallie Plunkett led Stetson with four ground balls, and Broderick added four caused turnovers.
Freshman Caili Guilday played all 60 minutes in goal, earning her second win of the season after recording eight saves. Howard’s Candace Ross also played the whole game, making an identical eight saves in the loss.
Stetson will now prepare for next weekend’s Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. The Hatters will await the announcement of their opponent in the semifinals after Sunday’s regular season finales take place. The semifinals take place on Friday, April 26 in Jacksonville, Fla.
UPDATE: Stetson has clinched at least the three seed in the tournament, and will face Detroit in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m.