Breen, Ruby & Vitka lead Golden Bears offensively
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (February 28, 2019) – The Western New England University women's lacrosse team came up just short in a 13-12 loss to Smith College on Thursday night in non-conference action at Smith's Turf Field.
The Golden Bears were led offensively by senior Kristen Breen (Ellington, Conn.), junior Eileen Ruby (New Fairfield, Conn.) and freshman Samantha Vitka (Stratford, Conn.). Breen recorded a hat trick, while Ruby finished with three points (two goals, one assist) and Vitka added a pair of goals.
Junior defender Madison Lemire (Ellington, Conn.) paced all players with a game-high nine draw controls and also caused a team-best five turnovers for the Golden Bears.
Smith senior Chloe Harris (Alexandria, Va.) powered the Pioneer offense with a game-high six goals, while classmate Emily Biggs (Florence, Mass.) posted a solid all-around effort with one goal, one assist, two caused turnovers, four ground balls and six draw controls.
Western New England, which trailed 3-1 following Biggs' free position goal at the 21:26 mark of the first half, used a 3-0 run to pull ahead for the first time (4-3) when Reilly Miller (Goshen, N.Y.) converted a free position attempt with 17:51 on the clock. Vitka also buried a pair of goals during the early spurt for the Golden Bears.
Smith regained the lead (6-5) with 8:08 left in the half, as sophomore Kaitlin Chiu (Palo Alto, Calif.) scored on a feed from senior Clelie Fielding (Francestown, N.H.), but Western New England received late goals from Ruby and junior Kaitlyn Hutter (Stamford, Conn.) to pull even (7-7) at the break.
The Pioneers held a pair of leads early in the second half, including a 9-8 edge following Harris' fourth goal of the night at the 20:04 mark.
Western New England regained the momentum with another 3-0 run, however, as freshman Liz Mazza (East Longmeadow, Mass.) (19:53), Breen (19:12) and freshman Hannah Jarvis (Westfield, Mass.) (17:51) all scored to give the Golden Bears an 11-9 advantage.
The Pioneers responded with a 3-0 run of their own, which culminated in a Harris free position goal with 3:45 remaining, to reclaim a 12-11 edge.
Ruby tied the contest for the final time 34 seconds later, but Harris secured the game-winner for Smith on a free positon opportunity with just under two minutes left in regulation.
• Smith outshot Western New England 35-23, but the Golden Bears held a 28-26 edge in ground balls.
• The Pioneers went a perfect 19-for-19 on their clear attempts, while WNE was 16-for-22.
• Breen, Ruby and Vitka are tied for the team lead with three goals each through two games.
Western New England (0-2) will be back on the road next Thursday at Westfield State, while Smith (1-0) hosts Eastern Connecticut on Saturday.