The Stetson lacrosse team tied Bryant 6-6 in the second half, but after falling behind 7-0 during the first 30 minutes of play, the Hatters (0-7) fell to the Bulldogs (2-3) by a score of 13-6 on Wednesday evening at the Athletic Training Center.
Still seeking its first victory, Stetson came out like a different team in the second half. It showed on the scoreboard, tying Bryant 6-6 in the frame, but it was also severely evident to anyone who was watching that the Hatters were very much in the game.
"As a coach I'm extremely happy with the changes that [the players] made," Stetson head coach Nicole Moore said in regards to the second half. "[I'm] over the moon with the fire that they came out with. It's like they just had a boost of confidence right off the bat. They fed off each other, and despite the loss, this is a huge, huge step for our program."
Stetson earned seven draw controls to Bryant's six, was successful on five out of six clears, and was a perfect 2-for-2 on free position shots. The Hatters ended the game with back-to-back scores by freshman Danielle Horgan to cut the final deficit to just seven goals, the best result for Stetson on the season.
Moreover, the Hatters outscored the Bulldogs by a mark of 5-3 over the final 25 minutes of the game. Freshman Mary Kate O'Sullivan ignited the rally with a goal off of an assist from freshman Paige Levesque. After a Bryant score, Levesque scored on a free position and then assisted on another O'Sullivan goal to make it 11-4 with 20:13 to play.
After a pair of Bryant goals extended the Bulldogs' advantage back to nine, Horgan scored on a free position, and then unassisted to make the final count 13-6. Freshman Maylis Broderick scored the first goal of the half for the Hatters, converting on Levesque's first of three assists on the night.
Freshman Caili Guilday earned her first career start in goal for the Hatters on Wednesday, and she helped keep the Hatters in the game all night. The Wallingford, Pa. native made 17 saves in the game, including 12 in the first half alone to make sure the Bulldogs didn't pull away.
Freshman Rachel Dumas led the Hatters with four ground balls and caused one turnover. O'Sullivan, meanwhile, added five draw controls and one ground ball to her two goals. Freshmen Hallie Plunkett and Kelsey Gilbert caused two turnovers each in the victory.
Stetson will now prepare for its first road game of the season on Tuesday, March 19. The Hatters will travel to Gainesville to take on Florida at 6:30 p.m.