Bryant cruises past CCSU, 16-6, Friday on road behind trio of hat tricks

Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography
Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Eight different Bulldogs got on the board, including hat tricks from a trio of seniors, as the Bryant University women's lacrosse team cruised past Central Connecticut State University, 16-6, on the road Friday afternoon to stay perfect in Northeast Conference action.

Senior attack Olivia McCarthy (Sea Girt, N.J.) and senior midfielder Kimberley Sniffen (Redding, Conn.) led all scorers with five points apiece for the Bulldogs (11-3, 5-0 NEC), with the former picking up her first-career hat trick and adding a pair of assists in the effort. Senior midfielders Katherine Keckeisen (Danbury, Conn.) and Lisa Vendel (Sandy Hook, Conn.) also added hat tricks on the day, while Sniffen – who paced the game with three assists – and sophomore Lauren Descalzo (Hauppauge, N.Y.) each found the back of the net twice. The Blue Devils (5-9, 2-3) were paced by a game-best four goals from Falynn McCartney while getting two more from Amanda Toke in the loss.

The Bulldogs started out the game on a nine-goal tear through the Blue Devil ranks, pulling the clock inside the last 90 seconds of the opening stanza before letting up the first Central Connecticut goal, a McCartney unassisted tally with 1:29 left on the clock.

"We started the game out playing Bryant lacrosse from the beginning, playing at our level and not wavering," said Bryant head coach Jill DePetris-Batcheller.

Bryant got off to what turned out to be an insurmountable start behind eight different sources, with senior attack Haley Bloom (Hauppauge, N.Y.) opening the scoring just 1:35 into the contest off a feed from McCarthy. Descalzo followed with back-to-back scores, before Vendel made it 4-0 midway through the frame on an unaided goal.

Less than 60 seconds later, McCarthy got on the board herself, followed by tallies from sophomore Nicole Britton (Monmouth Beach, N.J.) and Morgan LaBarbera (New Fairfield, Conn.) – both assisted by Sniffen – to run the clock under the 10-minute mark and hand the Black and Gold a 7-0 advantage.

Keckeisen and Vendel upped that lead to 9-0 over the next five minutes before McCartney's breakthrough for the host Blue Devils, and Toke would follow up with a free position goal with 47 ticks left in the first to cut Bryant's margin to 9-2. But Keckeisen would get the final say in the frame, netting another Sniffen feed with 14 seconds to go for a 10-2 lead at the halftime break.

"The defense today came out and played confidently," said DePetris-Batcheller. "They communicated well from the beginning and each of them was really doing her job."

McCarthy started out the second with consecutive scores to complete her hat trick and afford the Bulldogs a 12-2 edge, though Central Connecticut responded in kind with scores from Toke and McCartney. And with a 12-4 lead in hand, Bryant would outscore the Blue Devils, 4-2, over the remaining 18 minutes of the contest en route to a 16-6 final margin.

"On the attacking end, the senior leadership today was incredible," said DePetris-Batcheller. "Olivia McCarthy played especially well today. She was so creative, so opportunistic and just so dynamic all game. I think she is someone who is really coming into her own late in the season and is really becoming big for us."

Bryant senior netminder Brianna Watt (Babylon, N.Y.) made eight stops, including three in the first half, before giving way to rookie Kaycee Asquith (Rumford, R.I.) in the final 3:10 of the contest. Asquith would make one stop in her second appearance of the season.

CCSU junior goalie Morgan Tullar faced 31 shots on the day – 27 of which went on goal – in one of her most challenging efforts of the 2014 season, turning away 11 despite the loss. Bryant won the ground ball, 20-16, and draw control, 13-11, battles while limiting its turnovers to 12 compared the CCSU's 16. Vendel paced the contest with six ground balls and four draw control wins, also forcing two caused turnovers. Sniffen recorded a game-best three forced giveaways.

The Bulldogs next return to action Friday afternoon when they take on LIU Brooklyn on the road at 4:00 p.m.