HENNIKER, N.H. -- Junior midfielder Ana Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.) matched her career high with four goals to lead the Simmons College women's lacrosse team to a 16-8 victory over host New England College this evening at Don Melander Field in Henniker, N.H. The Sharks improve to 4-1 on the season for their best start since 2013 when they won seven of their first eight games to begin the year, while the Pilgrims fall to 1-2.
Simmons owned a 34-19 shot advantage and dominated the draw, winning 19 of 26 from the center circle. The Sharks also took advantage of seven yellow cards called on New England College, by scoring three goals with a player advantage.
Giarrusso added a match-high seven ground balls and three caused turnovers to go with four draw controls for Simmons, while junior midfielder Elena Bragg (Belmont, Mass.) tallied four points on three goals and an assist, while picking up four ground balls, causing three turnovers and winning a game-high eight draws. Junior midfielder Mallory Cottam (Hope, R.I.) netted three goals in addition to a ground ball and a draw control and senior attacker Kasey Fries (Bridgewater, Mass.) registered four points, including a pair of goals, and added a ground ball. First year goalie Cat Cross (Beverly, Mass.) earned the victory with five saves for the Sharks.
Junior attacker Tara Bainbridge (South Hadley, Mass.) led all scorers with six of the Pilgrims' goals in addition to a pair of ground balls and a draw control. Junior midfielder Alana Scott (Huntington, Vt.) scored the other two goals for the home team and won two draws to go with a caused turnover. First year keeper McKenzie Gallasso (South Windsor, Conn.) made eight saves for New England College.
Simmons erased a 5-3 deficit and scored five unanswered goals to close out the first half to take an 8-5 lead. Junior attacker Missie Maiewski (Northampton, Mass.) and Cottam scored within 58 seconds of each other to pull the Sharks even at 5-5 with 8:24 left in the opening half. Sophomore midfielder Kingsley Richards (Lexington, Mass.), Cottam and Fries all found the back of the net in a two-minute span to give Simmons a three-goal margin with 3:42 remaining in the half before heading into the intermission.
Bainbridge scored the first goal of the second stanza to break the Pilgrims' scoring drought, but the Sharks owned the rest of the half, outscoring their hosts, 8-2, to close out the contest. First year midfielder Molly Reinhold (Mystic, Conn.) scored the first of six unanswered markers over a seven-minute span for Simmons. Bragg and Giarrusso each scored twice during the burst to give the Sharks a 14-6 advantage with 19:41 showing on the second half clock.
Scott and Bainbridge scored consecutive goals to cut the deficit to 14-8 for New England College at the 15:21 mark, but it concluded the scoring for the night for the Pilgrims. Giarrusso and Cottam each netted a goal in the final six-plus minutes of action to add to Simmons' winning margin.
The Sharks opened the game by scoring the first three goals of the night with Bragg, Giarrusso and Fries all finding twine. New England College answered with the next five goals, including four from Bainbridge to take a 5-3 lead with 9:55 remaining in the first half.
Simmons will be in action again on Tuesday, March 20 when it travels to Standish, Maine to take on Great Northeast Athletic Conference foe Saint Joseph's College at 4:00 p.m. to open the conference slate, while the Pilgrims host University of Maine-Farmington on March 17 at 4:00 p.m.