BOSTON, Mass. – Despite seven unanswered goals to close out the game from the visiting Rivier University women's lacrosse team, Simmons College held on for a 17-15 victory today in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference opener on Winsor Field in Boston, Mass. The Sharks improve to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in league play, while the Raiders fall to 3-4 and 0-1.
Simmons led 12-5 at halftime, before Rivier outscored its hosts 10-5 in the second stanza. The Raiders held a 25-14 advantage in ground balls and scored seven goals on free position shots.
Senior midfielder Paxton LaRocque (Londonderry, N.H.) led Rivier with a career-high seven points and six goals and added four ground balls, two draw controls and a pair of caused turnovers. Junior midfielder Amanda Wickens (Tyngsboro, Mass.) scored four times and assisted on another goal, while winning nine draw controls, causing three turnovers and coming up with three ground balls. Sophomore midfielder Taylor Lirakis (Tewsbury, Mass.) and first year midfielder Ashley Leal (Tyngsboro, Mass.) each tallied a pair of goals as well for the Raiders. First year goalie Courtney Laperriere (Keene, N.H.) made a dozen saves for Rivier.
Sophomore attacker Rachel Wadkins (Winthrop, Mass.) netted her second goal of the year to give Simmons a 17-8 cushion with 11:19 to play in the match. It was the last tally of the contest for the home team as the Raiders' defense held the Sharks scoreless over the final 11-plus minutes, while scoring seven times to pull to within 17-15. Lirakis and junior attacker Jane Farrell (Wilmington, Mass.) bookended goals around a pair of markers from LaRocque as the Raiders cut the deficit to 17-12 with 8:51 to go in the game. The Sharks held the visitors without a goal for almost the next eight minutes before Rivier scored three times in the final 69 seconds of play, getting goals from LaRocque and Wickens within a 13-second span and a tally from Leal as time expired.
Simmons dominated the opening seven minutes of the first half, scoring five straight goals, including a pair from Sheehan and Fries in addition to a goal from Bragg to take a 5-0 lead with 23:14 left on the clock. LaRocque and Sheehan traded goals before Wickens and Lirakis each found the back of the net to pull the Raiders to within 6-3 at the 15:33 mark of the opening half. First year midfielder Analise Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.) countered for the Sharks, before Wickens answered 80 seconds later at 10:31 to make it 7-4.
Simmons reeled off five goals in a row from five different players. Senior midfielder Alexia Malone Oliver (Bristol, R.I.), first year attacker Missie Maiewski (Northampton, Mass.), Fries, Bragg and sophomore attacker Kiera Kirkaldy (Middlebury, Vt.) all scored for the Sharks to increase their lead to 12-4 with 3:27 remaining in the stanza. Leal ended a near-nine minute scoring drought with a goal for Rivier at 1:45 of the first half to make it 12-5 heading into the intermission.
The teams traded the next four goals as Simmons maintained a 14-7 lead with 24 minutes left in the match. The Sharks scored three of the next four goals to take its largest lead of the day.
Simmons returns to action on Saturday, April 2 when it hosts GNAC foe Johnson & Wales University at 11:00 a.m., while the Raiders travel to Northfield, Vt. to take on Norwich University on the same day at 1:00 p.m.