HARTFORD Conn. – The Johnson & Wales University women's lacrosse team took a big step this year when it advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The program's first NCAA win will have to wait another year as the Wildcats were defeated 17-8 on Saturday by Babson in the NCAA Tournament first round.
Johnson & Wales ended the year with a school-record 16-5 mark. The Beavers improved to 14-5 and will take on host Trinity at 1 p.m. in Sunday's second round.
Johnson & Wales got on the board first when Gabrielle Vasile (Milford, Mass.) found the back of the net at the 23:34 mark. Vasile scored a team-high three goals, including a goal with 9:08 left in the second half.
The two teams traded goals for the next 15 minutes. Attacker Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, RI) scored with 9:40 remaining in the half to tie the game, 4-4. Unfortunately, that would be the last goal JWU would tally in the first half as the Beavers went on a 6-0 run for a 10-4 halftime advantage.
Stopping Babson's 12-0 run was senior Lydia Knapp (Glens Falls, NY) when she tallied a score with 12:01 left in the game. Knapp won nine draw controls to up her total to 475, which rates fifth in NCAA history.
Babson's pressure on defense caused problems for the Wildcats as they committed 18 turnovers. The Beavers also had the advantage in shots (25-19) and ground balls (17-7).
With five of her top scorers back for next season, JWU head coach Caitlin Hansen should have another championship squad in 2018. She'll need to replace Knapp as well as GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year Marianna Consiglio.