By Andrew Cahill
The Dutchwomen apparently know just as well as Rebecca Black that you “gotta get down on Friday.” They were coming off of a split on the North Country portion of their Liberty League schedule against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Therefore, the Dutchwomen were well aware that they would have to sharpen their game against the William Smith Herons in order to defend the home turf of Frank Bailey Field last Friday afternoon and remain near the top of the Liberty League standings. Although Union boasted a 6-0 record against William Smith in their last six league meetings, that record is not indicative of how tough an opponent the Herons are as a perennial challenger in the Liberty League.
Following the opening draw, the Dutchwomen took Ms. Black’s words to heart by getting right down to work, opening a 4-0 lead halfway through the first half. Chelsea Charette ‘11 opened up the scoring for the Dutchwomen two and a half minutes in on a feed from Melissa Hine ’11, the first of five on the day for the assist maestro. Following a soft goal, which trickled through the William Smith goalie, the Dutchwomen tacked on two more goals to grab a four-goal advantage with nearly 18 minutes left in the first half. The Dutchwomen seemed to be zoned in, particularly their defense, whose strong organization had stifled the Heron attack.
Then the momentum shifted as quickly as the springtime weather in Schenectady. William Smith head coach Pat Genovese called a timeout in hopes of regrouping her team and the results were immediately apparent as the Herons opened up a string of three unanswered goals to pull within one of the Lady Dutch, who were out of sync for the remainder of the half and were visibly frustrated by the turn of events. Nevertheless, the first half ended with the Dutchwomen holding onto the 4-3 advantage.
One of the keys to William Smith staying within striking distance of Union during the first half was making sure that the dangerous Kristin Joyce ’11 was swarmed and unable to get near the Herons’ goal cage. But Joyce managed her way onto the score sheet by maneuvering her way through the Heron defense to score and give the Dutchwomen a 5-3 lead early in the second half. But similar to the Williams game a week or two prior, William Smith would not let Union pull away, answering with two straight goals to knot the game at five.
The Dutchwomen then jumped to a 9-6 lead on two straight scores by Charette, who had three goals on the day, followed by a beautiful top shelf snipe from Hine. Heather Fraser ’13 then tallied Union’s ninth goal. The Herons, however, stayed in the game by winning several draws at midfield, and came all the way back and tie the match at nine apiece with 11 minutes remaining, all but guaranteeing another dramatic finish for the Dutchwomen at Bailey Field.
After the feisty opponents from the Finger Lakes took their first lead of the game at 10-9, their momentum was stunted when Heron Kathryn Gillan was given a yellow card, and an opportunistic Kristin Joyce took immediate advantage by tying the game again. As the clock ticked down in regulation, the Dutchwomen found a familiar hero: the ice-blooded Casey Dianni ‘11 who whipped in a goal with 43 seconds left. But Dianni could not have been the hero without a stellar save in the waning seconds by Dutchwomen goalie, Alexis Deeb ’12, who secured the 11-10 victory, Union’s fifth win in six games, bringing their record to 7-4 overall and 5-1 in Liberty League play.
Next up for what is proving to be a very game group of Garnet lady laxers are the Cortland State Red Dragons on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and the Brockport State Eagles on Saturday at 2 p.m.