WORCESTER, Mass. - Curry senior Haley Carey (N. Milford, CT) registered seven points on five goals and two assists as she helped propel the second-seeded Colonels to an 11-7 triumph over top-seeded Worcester State in the ECAC Division III New England Women's Lacrosse Championship game this afternoon at Coughlin Field.
With the victory, Curry (11-9) captured its first-ever ECAC New England crown in their fourth title game appearance. The Lancers see their year end at 13-5 after earning their programs first berth in the ECAC championship contest.
Senior Mel Brickey (Chelmsford, MA) did a little bit of everything with five draws, three ground balls and two assists and one goal en route to the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. Brickey also logged eight points on five markers with six ground balls, six draws and nine caused turnovers in their 24-3 ECAC semifinal victory over third-seeded Rivier on Friday evening.
Other standouts in the championship victory included freshman Alli Schoff (Berwick, ME) who had a hat-trick while Carey also shared the team lead with five draws. Sophomore Alexis Cran (Branford, CT) collected five ground balls and she had a pair of caused turnovers to help lead the charge defensively for the Colonels.
Sophomore teammates Kaila Chase (Northbridge, MA) and Jackie Connors (Ashland, MA) both ended the game with two goals and one helper apiece as junior Jackie Lawlor (Westford, MA) and sophomore Katelyn Murphy (Billerica, MA) both chipped in with five ground balls each.
Junior Angela Grassetti (Feeding Hills, MA) had a trio of ground balls and a trifecta of draws and freshman Angelina Sutherland (Tewksbury, MA) notched two assists and three ground balls for WSU.
Curry snapped a tie game at the intermission when Carey and Schoff potted markers early in the second period for the 6-4 edge with 27:52 on the clock.
The hosts responded with goals by Chase and senior Vicki O'Brien (Canton, MA) to knot up the contest, just five minutes into the final frame.
After Carey registered her team-best 61st of the campaign, Connors answered the call after a nifty feed by Chase to help tie up the game at 7-7 with 13:41 remaining.
But the Colonels scored two quick goals and went up 9-7 almost two minutes later.
Schoff recorded the eventual game-winner taking advantage of an errant Worcester State pass in the midfield and then Carey tacked on another marker with a free position shot at the 9:32 mark.
The Lancers tried everything they could do to get back into the game, but they did not put a quality shot on the net for the remainder of regulation and the offense committed three key turnovers in front of Curry's net down the stretch.
Freshman Malorie Knowlton (Norfolk, MA) and Brickey sent in the final two tallies to help seal the win for the Colonels.
Worcester State opened the contest with the early 3-1 advantage as Chase tacked on the final goal of the spurt with 13:14 left in the first period. Curry battled back and after consecutive markers by Carey and Shoff just 19 ticks apart, the visitors tied up the game at 3-3 nearly 1½ minutes later.
Freshman Alaina Martin (E. Longmeadow, MA) put the Lancers up by one score with 9:30 showing on the board before sophomore Emma Bolton (Mahwah, NJ) connected for the equalizer with three seconds left for the 4-4 contest at the intermission.
Junior Christina Wallis (Peabody, MA) stopped five shots and she added three ground balls while her record improved to 8-7 on the campaign.
Freshman Lea Robichaud (Holden, MA) turned aside 12 attempts on net as her record fell to 13-5, tying the previous single-season record in the process.
Curry finished with the 30-15 margin in shots – including the 16-4 edge in the second half. The Colonels also led in ground balls (28-23), draws (12-7) and were effective on their clears for the game (18-for-20).
After going 8-for-12 on clears in the opening frame, the Lancers were successful on only half of their attempts in the final stanza (7-for-14).
The Colonels only converted two of their 12 bids from the eight-meter line as the Blue and Gold were 2-for-5, but did not get a free possession attempt in the final 30 minutes of regulation.
"It feels amazing," said 14th-year Head Coach Caitlin Roberts, on her victory over Worcester State. "We've played in championship games, but never won a championship. We have seven seniors that deserve this championship and I couldn't be happier with the group of girls we have."
Roberts said that with a tie game at the intermission, she knew the game was going to come down to possession and draw controls.
"In the first half, we were taking shots that weren't going in, we knew how to move the goalie in the second half," said Roberts. "But it really came down to possession and winning the 50-50 balls, that we weren't winning in the first half. That's what ultimately got us the win."
Brickey agreed with her head coach's post-game assessment about being a second-half team and making the adjustments that were necessary to claim the victory.
"I know how everyone wanted this so badly," said Brickey. "We've been practicing every day, working so hard for this and we got off to a little bit of a hard start, but we picked it up in the second half."
"I told my girls that Worcester won the first half, we have to win the second," said Roberts. "As long as we can go in, make those changes, and they did, we would get the win. That's what we've been doing all year."
Brickey said that the Colonels played as a team and they won the game for fallen classmate Evan Bard. Bard was a nursing major and cheerleader at Curry who was tragically killed in a car accident on May 10, 2013.
"We did it for each other and we did it for Evan, who we were supposed to graduate with," said Brickey. "We lost her last year."
"We dedicated this game in honor of her one-year passing," said Roberts. "That's why we all wore pink. We won the game for our team, for the program and for Evan." (Game recap courtesy of Worcester State Sports Information)