Mesa women’s lacrosse team shows growth despite loss to Albright
It was a loss, but it was a satisfying loss for the Colorado Mesa University women’s lacrosse team.
The growing pains of the past three seasons seemed to all disappear in the Mavericks’ 12-11 loss to Albright College.
For Allie Henderson, one of two seniors for CMU, this game was a clear demonstration of how far the program, now in its fourth year, has come.
“It was disappointing, but as one of the seniors, this is one of best games we’ve had since I started,” she said. “It was fun. They were great competition for us, they’re a great team, and we matched them. It was really point for point the whole game.”
CMU head coach Abby Simpson said it was disappointing to lose, but the game wasn’t really about a loss.
“It was amazing. It was such a fun game,” she said. “You know, I should say that I’m upset about the loss, but they played together, and they played with heart, and that’s all I wanted. They all played awesome. I’m so excited and proud for all of them.”
It didn’t start out well for the Mavericks, and it appeared the Reading, Pa., college had the superior talent and was on its way to a blowout victory. The Lions took a 4-1 lead, and Simpson called a timeout at the 21-minute mark.
The break and a few words from the coach worked, and the Mavericks scored the next five goals.
“I just told them to relax,” Simpson said. “We kind of spiraled out of control for a while, and we needed to take a deep breath and play Maverick lacrosse, and that’s what they did.”
Mesa took a 5-4 lead on a goal from Kayla Lyall on an assist from Henderson. The Mavs (2-3) pushed that lead to 6-4 on an unassisted goal by Ashley Eickhoff.
Trailing 6-5 going into the second half, Albright (4-3) scored a goal only 13 seconds in when Mariah Cullen found the net. Forty seconds later the Lions took a 7-6 lead.
But the Mavericks responded with three straight goals from Megan Lynch, Henderson and Haley Kroll to take a 9-7 lead.
Albright answered with two goals to knot it up at 9-9.
Kroll, who scored three goals, whipped a wicked sidearm shot into the net to put CMU up 10-9 with 15:47 to play. The Mavs took the lead at 11-10 with 7:57 remaining when Zoe Aldous scored on an assist from Lynch.
The Lions used a patient attack, working the ball around the net and waiting for scoring chances to open. A goal from Lexi Garapola tied the score at 11-11 with 6:54 remaining.
Then, the Lions seized control and held possession of the ball for most of the final six minutes. The patient, methodical strategy paid off when Erin Farrell scored the winning goal with 1:57 left.
Henderson said Mesa pressed a little too much when the Lions were controlling the possession.
“With the time clicking down, we got nervous and played rougher than we should have,” she said.
With three freshman and two sophomores scoring goals, Henderson said she’s excited about the future of the lacrosse program.
“We have a lot of upcoming freshmen that are outshining even the upperclassman. It’s a sight. It’s great to see,” she said.