Women’s lacrosse played the second game of its inaugural season this past Tuesday, March 5 on Sparks Field against Wartburg College. First-year Miranda Piros and sophomore Anabel Ohsman, who had led the team with four goals apiece in the season opener, proved once again to be invaluable for Willamette’s offense. Both Piros and Ohsman scored three goals for the Bearcats against Wartburg, with sophomore Alayna Newland providing two more goals in a last-minute surge. While Newland was able to cut the deficit to one with less than 1:30 remaining, Wartburg won the ensuing draw control and was able to run out the clock, resulting in a 9-8 defeat for Willamette.
The visiting Knights surged to a quick 2-0 lead before the Bearcats found their response. Piros, who had scored the first goal against Johnson & Wales University the week prior, again got the scoring started for Willamette with a strike nine minutes into the game. Wartburg answered with another goal of its own, but Piros fired back to close the deficit to one goal. Wartburg’s Bri Greiskalns scored her third goal of the game to push the deficit back to two. With only six minutes left in the half, Piros scored her third goal of the game on a free position shot. Less than a minute later, Ohsman scored to tie the game at 4-4. That score held until halftime.
Just three minutes into the second half, Ohsman struck a second time to give Willamette its only lead of the game. Wartburg quickly rallied and responded with two goals in the span of three minutes, taking control of the game for good. The Knights’ lead had increased to two by the time Ohsman scored her third goal, cutting the score to 7-6. Entering the final 10 minutes of the game, with the outcome still in question, Wartburg once again responded to the challenge with two quick goals. The game’s deciding goal was scored with a little over five minutes remaining by Wartburg player Alex Pollock, their third goal of the day.
However, the Bearcats refused to go down quietly. After Willamette called a timeout, Newland scored her first goal with 2:29 left in the game. First-year Emma Canchola won the ensuing draw control, allowing Newland to score again less than a minute later. After Newland’s second strike, the Knights were able to gain possession and run out the remainder of the clock.
Even in defeat, the team had several players record strong outings. In addition to Piros, Ohsman and Newland, Canchola had four draw controls and six ground balls, and seven different players caused at least one Wartburg turnover. Senior goalkeeper Kara Phillips also had a strong day in goal for Willamette. She recorded 11 total saves, with seven coming in the first half and two from free position shots. , The Knights finished the day with a 25-18 edge in total shots which ended up being the difference in the game.
Despite the defeat, the women’s lacrosse team battled through the final minute. “As a team we came ready to compete today, and we did for 60 minutes. That is the main expectation for ourselves,” Willamette Head Coach Sarah Lautenbach said in her interview with Robert McKinney. “Wartburg is a good team and it was great to have that challenge before starting our conference games.”
The Bearcats’ next game will come against George Fox University this coming Saturday, March 16 at 1:00 p.m. (PST) on Sparks Field.