April 22, 2014

Last Second Goal Lifts Lacrosse to Season Ending Win

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – Franciscan University of Steubenville women's lacrosse team ended their season with a major victory on home turf, winning 16-15.

It came down to the last minute of the match, as the Lady Barons and Yellow Jackets took the final timeout of the game, tied at 15-15. Head coach Maura Conant reminded her team to stay focused as they gathered on the sideline.

"I told them that it's not over until it's over," Conant said. "I said, Lady Barons keep your head in this game. You have to play the full 60 minutes. We were able to keep our heads in the game for those last 18 seconds. I am so proud of they way they played – best game of the season."

The Lady Barons came out of their huddle and took the field for the final moments. With 18 seconds to go, sophomore Lauren Noce scored an unassisted goal, giving FUS a one-point lead to end the game.

"You can't ask for a better way to end the season," Conant said. "Not only did they win so I'm proud of them, but the way they played the game is really why I'm proud. They really wanted it and everything really came together for us. They played so well."

Leading up to that final and crucial minute, the Lady Barons played well, maintaining dominance on the field against Waynesburg, who continuously had to adapt to Franciscan's play. FUS did that by controlling the draw throughout, leading Waynesburg by six.

"If you control the draw, you win the game," Conant said. "We kept adjusting what we were doing and then they had to adjust to us. Then we were able to get possession, then score. I think the biggest thing for us was our midfield transitions and our draw control."

Midfield transitions were another season-long undertaking the Lady Barons had sought to improve on. In the first fifteen minutes of the game, Franciscan was gaining their footing on the field, and the attackers were not playing all the way in their restraining line. Once they moved around their attackers and lined up differently, the defenders and midfielders were able to see the passes, ultimately improving their midfield play, said Conant.

"The whole season we have been able to work on our settled situations and we were kind of trying to really work on our midfield transition," Conant said. "Today, we really saw it come together for us and that was key. You see a lot of games won and lost in the midfield and we were really able to hold it together there today."

Once the Lady Barons took control of the midfield, they immediately stepped up from a 3-9 deficit, bringing the game to 7-9 in a matter of two minutes. After that point in the game, a back and forth between FUS and the Yellow Jackets began. The first half ended 8-10 with Waynesburg in the lead. The second half continued neck-and-neck.

Sophomore midfielder Shannon Root tied the game for the last time, bringing the score to 15-15 with two minutes to go.

"We would tie it up, then they would get a go ahead," Conant said. "It kept going but finally, you could start to see the momentum changing in the game. That's when we went out for our time out."

Conant said everyone had a great day on the field, but noted sophomore Madeline Eichman for her great game on defensive wing. Juniors Lindsay Matthys, Magdalena Munoz and Jessica Bestgen each scored one goal for Franciscan. Additionally, sophomore Tracy McClelland, Noce, and Root all stood out as key players in the successful game.

"Shannon has great control," Conant said. "She is one of our best. She has some of the team's best stick skills."

Root contributed one assist and one goal. Noce had four goals and one assist, while McLelland lead scoring with eight goals.

"Tracy and Noce were working really well together today," Conant said. "Tracy is our lead scorer and Noce is our second. They're also our assist leaders."

Ending the second year of Franciscan women's lacrosse program with such strong win leaves the Lady Barons hopeful for a promising upcoming year.

"We talk about setting the bar at a point for yourself," Conant said. "This is the bar that we are setting for ourselves in fall ball. This is what we are coming off of and this is where we are going to continue to go from. We are just looking for incremental growth as a program. We are a young team and we are just looking for those stepping stones. This moment is one of those stepping stones."

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