GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – A large deficit in draw controls cost the ECU lacrosse team in a 11-8 loss to Army on Saturday afternoon in Johnson Stadium.
The ECU women's lacrosse team saw its program-record five-game winning streak come to an end and the Pirates are now 5-2 on the season. Army continues its perfect start to the season and is 7-0.
Army came into the game ranked second in the nation in the draw circle, winning nearly two out of every three draws. The Cadets more than lived up to that reputation on Saturday, winning all nine draws in the first half. That dominance on the restarts helped Army take a 3-0 lead before ECU had even had an offensive possession.
The Pirates finally got ahold of the ball thanks to a Cece Bartley caused turnover and it led to a free position goal from MacKell Schultes, making it 3-1 with 25:36 to go in the opening half.
Army continued to control the ball, but ECU prevented the Cadets from turning that possession into goals. Nearly 10 scoreless minutes followed Schultes goal before Nicole LeGar scored off a pass from Megan Pallozzi to make it 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, the Army pressure began to pay off. Samantha Stewart and Kathleen Sullivan scored back-to-back goals for the Cadets to make it 5-2. The dagger came when Caroline Raymond scored her second goal of the game as time expired in the first half, making it 6-2 at the break.
ECU finally got its first draw control to open the second half, but Army’s scoring run continued. The Cadets added two more goals to open the second stanza, punctuated by Sullivan’s third marker with 22:49 remaining in the game, pushing the lead to 8-2.
The Pirates got some momentum when freshmen Ellie Bromley and Frances Kimel got back-to-back goals, with LeGar getting the assists on Kimel’s tally. But Army came right back with two goals of its own to restore the six-goal cushion. The two teams traded goals once more, with Ally Stanton scoring for ECU followed by Cameron Manor scoring for the Cadets.
Trailing 11-5 with just over two minutes remaining, ECU frantically tried to get back into the game. Kimel got her second goal to keep hope alive. Camryn Pennypacker got a goal of her own with 36 seconds to go. The comeback continued as LeGar won the ensuing draw control and then Payton Barr buried a free-position shot just 12 seconds after Pennypacker scored.
With the deficit at three with 24 seconds remaining, ECU continued to push as LeGar won another draw control. But the comeback came to an end when the Pirates turned the ball over and Army ran out the clock.
Army finished with a 31-21 edge in shots and a dominant 16-4 lead at the draw circle. Both teams scooped up 11 ground balls while Army had 15 turnovers to 14 for ECU. The Cadets went 5-of-9 from the eight-meter arc while ECU was 3-of-7 on free-position shots.
Kimel and LeGar each led ECU with two points, Kimel had two goals while LeGar had a goal and assist. LeGar also had three caused turnovers, three ground balls and two draw controls. Bartley also forced three turnovers for the Pirates while Bartley and Amy Jarvis each had twop ground balls. In the crease, Ashley Vernon made a career-high 13 saves.
The Pirates will have a chance to quickly bounce back as they head down the road to take on Duke on Tuesday afternoon. That contest is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m., in Durham, N.C.