BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore goalie Lauren White (Lynnfield, Mass.) made 17 saves to lift the Emmanuel College women's lacrosse team past Rivier University, 9-5, in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament Semifinals Thursday evening at Roberto Clemente Field. The #1 Saints improve to 14-2 on the year while the loss ends the #5 Raiders campaign with a 9-8 overall mark.
Rivier got out to a hot start, jumping ahead to an early 2-0 lead behind goals from senior middie Rebecca Wickens (Tyngsboro, Mass.) and sophomore attack Elena Reilly (Braintree, Mass.). The Saints got on the board to make it 2-1 when sophomore attack Kristen Tuleja (Mansfield, Mass.) buried a free position shot at the 23:40 marker but the Raiders answered minutes later when senior attack Jessica Amaral (East Providence, R.I.) converted a free position shot of her own to bump the visitors lead back to two goals at 3-1.
EC freshman attack Emily Baker (Stratham, N.H.) cut the lead to 3-2 with her 24th goal of the year, connecting on a free position shot before sophomore defender Sarah Higgins (Groveland, Mass.) evened the score with a man-up goal with 16:23 left in the half to make it 3-3.
The Saints used the momentum to take their first lead of the night as Tuleja buried another free position shot to lift Emmanuel on top, 4-3, with 7:36 remaining in the stanza. Higgins made it 5-3 with another man-up score with under four minutes to play but freshman middie Amanda Wickens (Tyngsboro, Mass.) capped the first half scoring with her 47th goal of the year to pull the Raiders to within one heading into halftime.
White played a huge role in the opening half, making 10 saves including several on free-position attempts to give the hosts the one-goal lead.
After almost ten minutes of scoreless action to open the second half, EC broke the lull as junior middie Sarah Wootten (Berlin, Md.) finished a Tuleja feed to bump the lead back to two goals at 6-4. Freshman middie Abaigeal Merrigan (Rye, N.H.) got into the scoring mix with her 11th marker of the season on a free position shot to make it 7-4 with 15:23 remaining.
Rivier continued to battle and a free position goal by R. Wickens with 12:58 to play pulled the visitors to a 7-5 score but White and the Saints defense stood strong, holding the Raiders scoreless over the final 12+ minutes of action.
EC would cap the scoring with goals from freshman attack Amanda Cook (Saco, Maine) and Wootten to account for the 9-5 final.
For the Raiders, A. Wickens grabbed a game-high 10 groundballs while freshman middie Savannah Lundwall (Fiskdale, Mass.) paced the Saints with a team-high six GB's.
Sophomore goalie Danielle Moran (San Diego, Calif.) played well making eight saves for Rivier while White's 17 saves tied a career-high.
The Saints advance to the GNAC Finals for the first time in the program's four-year history and will host Saint Joseph's (ME) on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM. The #2 Monks defeated #3 Norwich University 7-5 this evening to earn their first-ever trip to the GNAC Finals as well. Trailing 5-2, Saint Joseph's scored five unanswered goals to capture the win this evening. When the two squads met during the regular season, Emmanuel came away with a thrilling 15-14 overtime victory on the road on April 8.