By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- In the first intercollegiate women's lacrosse game in Willamette University history, the Bearcats scored the first six goals on their way to a 16-5 victory over Johnson & Wales University (Colo.) on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Sparks Field. Three Willamette players -- Anabel Ohsman (So./Fr., ATT, Shohomish, WA/Glacier Peak HS), Miranda Piros (Fr., MID, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) and Lexie Andrade (So., Fr, ATT, Petaluma, CA/Casa Grande HS) -- each scored four goals for the Bearcats. WU moved to 1-0 on the season, while J&W fell to 0-1.
Piros scored the first goal for the Bearcats just 1:33 into the 30-minute first half. Willamette added three more goals in the first 8:18 and owned a 6-0 advantage with 14:08 left in the half. Ashley Guerrero produced Johnson & Wales' initial goal with 13:27 on the clock. Ohsman earned the first hat trick for the Bearcats with three goals in the half. She scored with 21:42, 3:32 and 2:01 remaining. The Bearcats were in front 8-1 at the break.
"While we have a lot to improve upon from this game as we move further into the season, we are very happy with the players' growth thus far," Willamette Head Coach Sarah Lautenbach said. "Their ability to make the transition from only having experience practicing to putting it all together for a full game is encouraging as we continue to build. As a coaching staff we couldn't be more pleased with their effort and energy today."
Willamette's early four-goal output included two goals by Piros, plus one goal each by Victoria Glidden (Fr., MID/DEF, Dover, NH/Phillips Exeter Academy) and Ohsman. Glidden scored again with 18:41 on the clock and Andrade recorded the sixth unanswered goal a bit more than four minutes later.
Ohsman's two goals at the end of the half gave Willamette a strong seven-goal advantage plus momentum entering the second half.
"I think we played well as a team and really supported each other to conquer those first-game jitters," Bridget Blaney (Jr./Fr., DEF, Buffalo, WY/Buffalo HS) said. "The attack did an incredible job handling the ball and giving the defense time to catch our breath to get ready to try to stop JWU's attack the next time down the field."
Alayna Newland (So./Fr., ATT, Everett, WA/Archbishop Murphy HS), who assisted on the last goal in the first half, scored the first goal of the second half with 27:36 to play. Newland added two more assists during the second half to finish with one goal and three assists.
After Newland's goal, Jochelyn Suglio of Johnson & Wales scored on a free position shot in a man-up situation at the 25:57 mark. Katie Smith of J&W tacked on a goal just 52 seconds later at 25:05 to pull the Wildcats within 9-3. The Bearcats registered the next six goals, including three by Andrade, to take a 15-3 lead. As soon as WU went up by 10 goals, the game was played with a running clock.
Willamette's six-goal offensive surge in the second half also featured two goals by Piros and one goal from Laura Kelly (Fr., Mountain View, CA/Mountain View HS). Three goals in the run were scored on free-position shots.
The Wildcats scored two of the final three goals, but Ohsman tallied the middle goal for her fourth score of the game.
"Today's game was so exciting for us as a team," Ohsman commented. "It was amazing to have so much support from the Willamette community. Our team has grown so much, and I'm excited to see what we will be able to accomplish this season."
WU finished with a 37-12 advantage in total shots and a 28-8 margin in shots on goal. Willamette goalkeeper Kara Phillips (Sr.Fr., Kirkland, WA/Lake Washington HS) needed to make just two saves, while two J&W goalies combined for 11 saves.
"I am incredibly proud of both the coaches and the team today," Andrade said. "Everyone has worked so hard and put in so much time and effort over these last months, and today it all paid off. I think the entire team really played their hearts out and left everything they had on the field. I could not have asked for a better start to the season."
Piros led the Bearcats on the attack with six points on four goals and two assists. Ohsman finished with five points on four goals and one assist. Andrade (4-0) and Newland (1-3) each contributed four points. Madisyn Tulenchik earned the Wildcats' final two goals and was J&W's only multi-point scorer.
The Bearcats dominated draw controls with an 18-5 margin. Willamette's advantage on draws was 12-1 in the second half. Andrade led all players with five draw controls, while Ohsman and Piros followed with four apiece. WU also held a 20-14 edge in ground balls, led by Emma Canchola (Fr., DEF, Oregon City OR/Oregon City HS) with six and Ohsman with four. Ohsman also caused three turnovers.
"I think, as a team, we did a great job on draw controls, which made a huge difference in the game," Blaney noted. "The defense worked together and came up with some crucial ground balls to get possession back. Overall, we all worked together as a team, and with the help and support of our coaches, we were able to come away with a great win."
Willamette will return to action on Tuesday, March 5 against Wartburg College (Iowa) at Sparks Field. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Miranda Piros has the distinction of being the first player to score
a goal in Willamette women's lacrosse history. She gave the
Bearcats a 1-0 lead when she scored just 1:33 into the team's
inaugural game on Sunday. Piros went on to score three more
times and also added two assists for a game-high six points. She
was one of three Bearcats with four goals during the game.