NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – A trio of players netted hat tricks to lift the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's lacrosse team to its second victory of the season, defeating the Mitchell College (MC) Mariners, 17-6, Saturday afternoon on Arute Field at Central Connecticut State University. With the victory, the Blue Jays improve to 2-5 overall on the season while the Mariners slip to 0-2.
Freshman Jenna Banta (Montville, Conn.) once again powered the USJ offensive attack finishing with a game-high eight goals. It marks the second game this season where she has posted eight or more goals and she has 17 combined goals in USJ's pair of victories during the 2019 campaign. She also recorded a career-high and game-high 10 draw controls to go with a career-high and game-high six ground balls.
Junior Charlotte Eberhardt (Thomaston, Conn.) and freshman Taya Valdez (East Lyme, Conn.) also registered hat tricks in the win finishing with four goals each. Valdez added a pair of draw controls as the Blue Jays dominated the draw, 17-8, over the Mariners. Senior Kate McCormack (Narragansett, R.I.) led the way for Mitchell with four goals, three draw controls, and five ground balls.
The Blue Jays and Mariners traded a pair of goals, respectively, over the opening five minutes as both teams settled into the game following the opening whistle. After that, it was all Blue Jays as Eberhardt sparked a 6-0 run for USJ to build a commanding 8-2 advantage with 14:06 left to play in the first half.
Eberhardt netted back-to-back goals to start the run before getting her third of the game with 14:17 remaining in the first half. Then, just 11 seconds later, Banta charged down the field and deposited her third goal of the game to cap the run and give herself a first-half hat trick.
Neither team would score for the next 12 minutes until McCormack temporarily halted the USJ run with her third goal of the game with just under two minutes before halftime. However, Banta once again took the ensuing draw and marched right down the field in 11 seconds and beat the Mariners' keeper to push the USJ lead back up to 9-3. A Mitchell goal with just over a minute before the break made it 9-4 heading into the locker rooms.
USJ wouldn't let the visitors get any closer, though, and opened up the second half strong with a pair of goals. Banta picked up right where she left off and got the Blue Jays on the board just nine seconds into the second period before Valdez found the back of the net for her third goal of the game with 25:55 left in regulation to make it 11-4 in favor of the hosts.
A man-up Mitchell goal from senior Francesca Pinard (Arlington, Mass.) trimmed the USJ lead to 11-5 until Valdez and Banta each followed with another goal to balloon the lead up to 13-5 with just over 20 minutes left to play.
McCormack answered and would deposit her fourth and final goal of the game to make it 13-6 USJ, but the Blue Jays would tighten up defensively and keep the Mariners off the scoreboard for the remaining 17:52 of the match. During that time, USJ would tack on four more goals including a pair from Banta to account for the 17-6 final margin of victory.
Freshman goalkeeper Silvana Barcomb (Middletown, Conn.) earned her second career victory (2-5) between the pipes for the Blue Jays making five saves and stopped all three free position shots taken by the Mariners. Mitchell's junior netminder Gillian MacLellan (Burlington, Conn.) was dealt the loss and drops to 0-2 on the season. She finished with 18 saves.
The Blue Jays outshot the Mariners 45-14 in the victory, including 35-11 in shots on goal.
The USJ women's lacrosse team will be back in action next on Wednesday, March 27 when they host GNAC opponent Norwich University. The opening draw between the Blue Jays and Cadets is slated for 4:00 p.m. on the USJ Lacrosse Field.