by Tom Utescher
Opening the 2013 lacrosse season with home games on Monday and Saturday of last week, the women of Chestnut Hill College proved that they could hang with each of their opponents, but they let both bouts get away from them in the second half.
Facing Colorado’s Fort Lewis College in the Monday match, the Griffins were ahead by two goals with seven minutes left to play, but succumbed to a late surge by the Skyhawks, losing 10-9. Mercy College arrived from Dobb’s Ferry, N.Y. on Saturday afternoon, and CHC held its own through the first period, only down 6-5 with half-a-minute to go before the interlude. The Mavericks shot a seventh goal with 17 seconds on the clock, and kept on rolling after halftime for a 16-8 victory.
“I think we can chalk it up to inexperience, not understanding that we have the ability to win these types of games,” said new CHC head coach Chelsea Rosiek, a former Wissahickon High School and Temple University standout. “We’re almost there – I think that our confidence will grow with time as we reinvent this program.”
For the touring Fort Lewis squad (3-1), CHC’s Victory Field was the first stop on a three-game excursion to eastern Pennsylvania. When the Skyhawks took the field against the Griffins, the rival teams from two time zones apart turned out to be very well matched, dueling to a 6-6 halftime tie.
Fort Lewis actually jumped ahead by three points early on, but Chestnut Hill scrambled back into a 4-4 tie with three goals by Brianne Timony, a senior who found time last spring to coach the grade school lacrosse team at nearby Norwood Fontbonne Academy.
The Colorado crew went ahead once more, 6-4, but in the final 65 seconds of the first period Timony fired her fourth goal, and her classmate Christina Squillante then tied it up for halftime, 6-6.
When Fort Lewis was first on the board in the second half, CHC’s Rosiek realized that the points she’d emphasized at halftime hadn’t completely sunk in. She called a time-out, and just 17 seconds after play resumed, Timony fired her fifth goal of the day for the home team.
Soon after that, freshman Emorie Keimig and senior Erica Eaby also found the net for Chestnut Hill, giving the Griffins a 9-7 advantage with 14:23 left to play. Unfortunately for the locals, the day’s scoring would end with another three-goal surge, and this one belonged to the Skyhawks.
The Rocky Mountain maids had eked out a 10-9 win over the women from the less lofty Chestnut Hill.
“We need to start shooting better, and make better decisions about our shots,” Coach Rosiek observed. “I think our defense is strong, but we commit too many turnovers on attack, which leads to the other team having more opportunities on offense.”
Saturday afternoon brought much milder weather than the wintry conditions that had prevailed on Monday. Squillante staked CHC to a 1-1 tie early on, and although Mercy took the lead for good after that, the Griffins stayed close to their guests into the second half.
Two strikes by Timony had CHC still one goal back at 4-5 with more than a dozen minutes remaining in the first half, and after Mercy added another goal, Griffins junior Kelly Campbell cashed in with 1:23 on the clock for a 5-6 tally. Unfortunately for the hosts, with just 17 seconds left Kelsey Bub scored for the Mavericks from a few feet in front of the crease, making it 7-5 for the halftime break.
Mercy’s Kristen Znaniecki had collected two of her game-high five goals during the opening period, and when the teams got back on the field after the interval, she quickly netted two more as part of a little 3-0 run for the visitors. Senior Lindsay Alexander got Chestnut Hill going in the new period, converting off a free position to make it 10-6 with about nine minutes elapsed.
However, the hosts fell farther behind after that, as the bunch from Dobbs Ferry fired three of the next four goals in the contest. As the game clock dropped down towards five minutes, the New Yorkers still led 13-7, then Keimig picked up the CHC offense by coming in to score off a free position out to the left of the goal.
Timony completed a personal hat trick for the Griffins with 3:42 to go, making it 13-9, but the Mavericks finished up with a 3-0 burst to win by seven goals. Eaby wound up with two goals for the Griffins, who received eight saves in the net from senior keeper Jen Delahanty. Visiting goalie Steph DiLegge came up with 12 stops for Mercy.
“I think I have a great group of the girls who are motivated; they just need to adjust to my expectations for the program,” Rosiek said.
The Griffins have suffered from frequent coaching changes in recent years, but their new skipper stated, “I’m local, I’m here to stay, and I’m here to create a program that means something.”