By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
Coming off National Championships in 2012 and 2013 and reaching the National semifinals last year, the women’s lacrosse team enter the 2015 campaign ranked fourth nationally in the IWILCA Division II Preseason Top-20 Poll. With the departure of several seniors, the Pioneers are now a much younger team consisting of several fresh faces.
The Pioneers (1-0) flipped open the book of the 2015 season on Saturday, Feb. 28, as seven different players scored for LIU in a 16-3 crushing defeat of Holy Family University (0-1) at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
Although the Tigers recorded the first goal of the contest, the Pioneers tallied 11 consecutive goals to secure a comfortable 11-1-cushion heading into halftime. Senior midfielder Jenna Pierro and junior defender/midfielder Honey Roche each collected three goals and one assist during the streak. Red-shirt sophomore attacker Emily Delaney racked up two goals and two assists, while sophomore midfielder Connor Bird pitched in with two helpers.
LIU Post dominated the entire first half and demonstrated excellent teamwork by sharing the ball, which gave them a huge advantage in time of possession. The hosts outshot its opposition 21-4 and held a 10-3 edge in draw controls during the opening stanza.
Bird netted two goals in a span of 4:34 to kick-off the second half, which completed her four-point outing. Roche and Delaney both finished with a game-best four goals. Sophomore defender/midfielder Cara Douglas registered her first goal of the year at the 17:41 mark of the latter stanza.
Pierro and Delaney both had terrific performances, each scoring a game-high six points. Roche totaled five points and one caused turnover while Douglas and sophomore attacker Stefani Vagelatos both had a three-point showing, scoring one goal and dishing out two assists. In her first collegiate start, junior goalkeeper Kasey Kephart made two saves between the pipes. Freshman netkeeper Olivia Kirk denied three shot attempts in the cage.
For the Tigers, junior midfielder Paige Settar had all three goals, but LIU Post had the ball on the visitors’ end of the field for a majority of the game, limiting scoring chances for the guests.
“We couldn’t wait to get back out there and Holy Family has improved in several areas,” said Meghan McNamara, the Pioneer head coach. “They have a lot of returning players who have had a tremendous impact on their team.”
McNamara and her squad open up East Coast Conference play today when they clash with Molloy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. The opening draw is slated for 3 p.m.