LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Sophomore Lauren Descalzo (Hauppauge, N.Y.) tied her career high with five goals and the Bryant University women's lacrosse team blanked Siena over the final 36 minutes on their way to an 11-7 victory on Tuesday afternoon at the Siena Turf Field.
Trailing 7-3 with 6:21 to go in the first half, the Bulldogs (2-0) ripped off the final eight goals to earn their second-straight victory over the Saints (0-1). Siena had won the previous four meetings between the two schools. The 2-0 start is the first for Bryant at the Division I level and the first time since the 2006 team started 3-0.
"I am really proud of this team for the way that we started in the second half," head coach Jill DePetris-Batcheller said. "Being Siena's first game they got a few early looks on us and our defense did a great job in the second half to keep them scoreless."
With her team trailing by four late in the first half, Descalzo jumpstarted the Bulldogs as she controlled the draw and then completed her hat trick as she fired a shot inside the right post to make it 7-4. Less than 30 seconds later, Descalzo picked up a ground ball in front of the cage and placed a shot in the top left corner for her fourth goal of the game. Freshman Molly Martin (Island Park, N.Y.) then forced a turnover and Haley Bloom (Hauppauge, N.Y.) made it pay off as she rolled the crease and deposited a shot past the Siena keeper.
While the Bulldogs' offense was finding its gear, the defense was stifling the Siena attack. Senior Brianna Watt (Babylon, N.Y.) started the stellar defensive stand with a huge doorstep-save on the Saints' Julia Sirianni. She continued her outstanding play in the second half, posting back-to-back point-blank saves on Siena snipers Sarah Croutier and Erin Mossop. Bryant's offensive possession and outstanding man defense did the rest as the Black and Gold held Siena to just 11 shots in the second half.
Both teams were unable to score over the first 15 minutes of the second half until Bryant was finally able to tie the game. Senior Katherine Keckeisen (Danbury, Conn.) intercepted a Siena clearing pass and fed Bloom who found a wide open Nicole Britton (Monmouth Beach, N.J.) for the game-tying goal with 14:54 left. Just over a minute later, senior Kimberley Sniffen (Redding, Conn.) stepped around a Siena defender and buried a shot into the top right corner to give Bryant a lead it would not relinquish.
The Bulldogs would put the game away with goals from Descalzo, Olivia McCarthy (Sea Girt, N.J.) and Bloom over the next 10 minutes. Descalzo took a feed from Bloom for her fifth goal of the afternoon, McCarthy buried a pass from Lisa Vendel (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and McCarthy set up Bloom for the final goal of the afternoon.
It was all Bryant early on as it jumped out to a 3-1 lead 10 minutes into the game. Descalzo answered an early Siena marker with a bounce shot and Vendel gave Bryant its first lead of the afternoon as she converted on a free position opportunity. Descalzo capped the early outburst with her second goal of the game, a snipe to the top right left corner, to make it 3-1 with 20:39 left in the first half.
Siena would respond with the next six goals to take a 7-3 lead. Croutier potted Siena's second goal of the afternoon and Mossop's second of the afternoon tied the game three minutes later. Sirianni followed with back-to-back goals 1:17 apart to make it 5-3 and Mossop's third goal of the game capped the Siena run and made it 7-3 with 6:21 to play.
Descalzo led the way for Bryant with the third five-goal game of her career and now has nine goals in two career games against Siena. Bloom finished with four points on two goals and two assists and Vendel moved into third place on the DI scoring list with 104 points, passing former teammate Mary Green. Watt made nine saves to earn her second win of the season. Mossop finished with three goals, Sirianni tallied twice and Samantha DePasquale finished with 11 saves in her first career start.
"Bree had a lot of great saves that jumpstarted the momentum to our attacking end," DePetris-Batcheller said. "Our attackers, especially Lauren and Haley, were able to lead the attack and find the holes in the second half."
The Bulldogs return to action on Friday, Feb. 21 when they host Albany in their home opener at the Bryant Turf Complex. Game time is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.