‘Nova gets past Longwood

Andrew Gordon

It proved to be an exciting contest in Villanova Stadium on Friday evening as the Wildcat women’s lacrosse team improved to a record of 7-7 with an impressive comeback victory over the Longwood University Lancers.

With a strong second half and senior Taryn McKenna’s outstanding offensive performance, Villanova dropped Longwood’s record to 8-6. The ‘Cats came out storming as McKenna found the back of the net on a free possession shot. Fellow senior Katie Stone’s unassisted goal gave Villanova a two goal advantage less than four minutes into the game. After the Lancers answered with two goals of their own, McKenna scored her second goal of the game to put the Wildcats up 3-2.

The flurry of scoring continued for the next 16 minutes of the match as senior Taylor Lucy got in on the action, and McKenna notched two additional goals including her 100th collegiate score. In that period, Longwood managed to heat up, scoring on seven different occasions. The final six and a half minutes of the half showed to be a stalemate and the Wildcats went into the locker room down 9-6.

The outlook appeared bleak for Villanova as Longwood’s Liz Sellmayer found the net for the second time of the match, extending the Lancers’ lead to four goals. This first goal of the half seemed to be all the motivation the ‘Cats needed as they rallied with a remarkable 10 points in the second half. Stone began the comeback with her second goal of the evening, pulling Villanova within three.

Sophomore midfielder Mia Naccarato tallied the next goal off the stick of redshirt sophomore Erica Rybinski. Rybinski then took her turn in the offensive ambush as she scored on a free possession shot. Sophomore Rachel Lasda continued the Villanova scoring with an unassisted shot to bring the ‘Cats within one goal.

To little surprise, McKenna accounted for the next two goals, to help the Wildcats regain the lead for the third time in the contest. Longwood’s Sellmayer matched McKenna’s two consecutive goals to tie the game up at 12 with just 11:33 left in the game. Sophomore Carly Miller tallied her first goal of the evening to reclaim the Villanova lead, only to see Longwood’s Karli Brentlinger tie the game just 47 seconds later. Lucy found the net for the second time with 8:44 left to gain back the Wildcats’ advantage and Villanova did not look back.

What appeared to have the makings of a nail-biter ended without a late surge from the Lancers as Miller gave the ‘Cats a 15-13 advantage. In appropriate fashion, McKenna sealed the deal with her seventh goal of the day to give the Wildcats a 16-13 victory.

Sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Langan made 11 saves in the win, giving her seven wins on the season.

Villanova takes the field against Bryant on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Smithfield, R.I.