March 22, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn women's lacrosse team scored six second half goals and got key defensive stops in the closing minutes to come away with an 8-7 win over Fairfield University Saturday afternoon at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex. The Huskies erased a 4-2 Fairfield halftime lead on their way to their fourth-straight victory to improve to 5-4 on the season. The loss drops the Stags to 4-3.
UConn got a pair of goals each from senior Kacey Pippitt (New Canaan, Conn.) and sophomores Katherine Finkelston (Leonardtown, Md.) and Alexandra Crofts (Westport, Conn.). Both Pippitt and Finkelston each added an assist to their scoring totals as well.
Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Nee (Lancaster, Pa.) made five of her seven saves in the second half, none bigger than with 3:15 left in the game when she turned away a Melanie Raso 8-meter attempt to keep the Huskies in front.
The Huskies took a 1-0 lead at 25:16 when Crofts scored her first of the day, burying a feed from Finkelston at the left post. After a Fairfield goal at 23:35 tied it, UConn pushed their early lead to 2-1 at 16:02 thanks to a free-position goal by Pippitt.
The Stags controlled play for the rest of the first half, keeping the Huskies off the scoreboard while taking on three-straight goals. Jenna Slowey started the run at 12:48, tying it at 2-2. Colleen Reynolds gave the Stags their first lead at 9:36, taking a pass up top and dodging her way through the UConn defense for her seventh of the year. Riley Hellstein made it 4-2 Fairfield burying an 8-meter attempt at 3:55 to send the Stags to the locker room up 4-2 at the half.
Fairfield extended their lead to 5-2 with their fourth-straight marker just 1:14 into the second half as Melanie Raso scored her first of two second half goals. The Huskies began their march back when Finkelston scored her first at 27:19, converting on a breakaway chance off a Fairfield turnover in the midfield. The Huskies struck again just a minute later as Crofts took a pass on the right wing, spun to the middle and buried her second of the day to cut the lead to 5-4.
Fairfield's Raso pushed the lead back to two goals at 25:25 but the Huskies answered with a four-goal run over their own spanning the next 11 minutes of play. Pippitt started the run with a free-position goal at 22:10 and senior Jordan Christopher (Downington, Pa.) tied the game at 6-6 burying her 13th of the season at 20:41.
Sophomore Carly Palmucci (Herndon, Va.) gave UConn their first lead since 16:02 of the first half with her seventh goal of the season at 19:50. Palmucci carried the ball behind the net and beat her defender, one-on-one, to the left post tucking her shot in, top-shelf. Finkelston produced the eventual game-winner at 11:15 with a tremendous individual effort in front of goal. The ball got loose in front of the net and Finkelston was able to scoop it out of a scrum of players and quickly flip a shot past Fairfield keeper Chelsey Sidaras for an 8-6 lead.
The Stags cut the lead to just one at 9:18 as Reynolds held the ball at the top and waited for a cutting Hellstein who flashed to the middle, took the feed and buried it. From there, Nee made three big saves over the final eight minutes of action to secure the win.
Nee turned away a Jenna Fuchs shot at 7:13 and made a stop on a Raso free-position attempt at 4:34. The Huskies, who struggled on the clear all day (10-18), failed to clear off the save and Fairfield used a time-out at 4:15. Raso drew another 8-meter attempt at 3:14 but was denied a second time by Nee.
Fairfield would get one last crack at a tying goal in the final minute but couldn't get a shot off as Julieanne Mascera was forced into the teeth of the UConn defense and senior Siobhan Wilcox (Glastonbury, Conn.) stripped the ball allowing the Huskies to seal the win.
UConn held a slight 19-18 edge on shots in the win while the Stags won the ground ball battle, 20-16. Fairfield was 1-for-6 on free position attempts while the Huskies finished 2-for-5.
The Huskies are back in action March 29th when they head to Temple for their Big East opener. That game is set for a 1 p.m. start.
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