After a less than ideal start to the season for new coach Kerry O’Donnell and the Gannon University women’s lacrosse team, losing two of its first three games, the Knights quickly set their season on the right track with back-to-back victories last week against Wheeling Jesuit University and Lake Erie College, 12-7 and 13-12.
The Knights followed that with an 18-5 loss in Tuesday’s PSAC opener at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, leaving them with a 3-3 overall record heading into Saturday’s 1 p.m. PSAC match with Kutztown at McConnell Family Stadium.
On March 9, Wheeling Jesuit traveled to McConnell Family Stadium to take on the Knights in their home opener.
After falling behind within the first minute of the game, the Knights responded by finishing the first half on an 8-0 scoring run, with goals being contributed by six different players.
Despite going on a 3-0 run to start the second half, Wheeling Jesuit was unable to maintain its form for the remainder of the second half.
After a back and forth half, Gannon was able to hold off the Cardinals for a 12-7 win, the 11th year in a row in which the Knights have won their home opener.
Ashley Mozingo led the way with three goals while Kaitie Babiarz and Leilani King each added two. Becky Hilker, Tessa Mitchell, Kayla Shields, Kelsey Bright and Kat Martinelli each added one goal in the win.
Gannon’s next stop was in Painesville, Ohio, on Friday where the Knights took on the Lake Erie College Cyclones. Gannon started the game well, breaking the deadlock and taking the lead just 1 minute and 35 seconds into the game.
However, Lake Erie College quickly gained momentum and took a 6-5 lead into the halftime break. The Cyclones carried their first-half momentum into the second half, scoring the first three goals of the half to make the score 9-5.
Just when it looked like the Cyclones might run away with the game, the Knights stormed back, scoring five unanswered goals to take a 10-9 lead.
The final 11 minutes of the game went back and forth and Gannon was able to hold on for a 13-12 victory, in large part due to the stellar play of junior midfielder Mozingo, who posted an impressive six goals – the highest goal tally of her career.
Tessa Mitchell and King each added three goals while Hilker added the remaining goal.
The Knights have a plethora of attacking players capable of scoring goals, and when asked about the team’s attacking ability, O’Donnell commented on the versatility of the team’s offense.
But she was quick to praise the rest of the team as well.
“Beyond the attacking unit, our defense and our midfield was extremely key in a lot of that success as many of the goals resulted off a midfield or defensive caused turnover,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell added that she is happy with the team’s start to the season but the Knights have a lot of work to do to achieve their goal of playing in the NCAA Division II tournament in April.