Saturday evening, the Kean Cougars (1-4) women’s lacrosse fell short to SUNY Canton Kangaroos (1-4) in a thriller of a game at home, 13-12. In spite of Kean's loss, the game was one for the ages and only speaks to the toughness of this Cougars team. This season, the Cougars similarly to the majority of the season started out slowly. However, as the game progressed, their elevation and energy went up as well.
“Offensively, we’ve made some adjustments, and in the second half we were able to capitalize off it,” Kean Cougars HC B.J. Johnson expressed after the game. “... We learned a lot about silly mistakes that can come back to haunt you and that in this kind of game whoever played the more disciplined, and smarter ball will come out on top.”
In the first period, the Cougars came into the game with a lack of energy and intensity. With 12:37 remaining, the Kangaroos' sophomore midfielder Maddy Caron struck early to give them the lead. Shortly after, this was answered by junior attacker Kylie Giordano with roughly seven minutes remaining in the period. Giordano appeared to be the beacon of light for the Cougars in time of need throughout the game. In a losing effort, she ended the game with four goals and one assist. Later in the period, Caron answered Giordano’s goal with a goal of her own to give the Kangaroos the lead, 2-1.
“It’s just frustrating when you know your team has the potential and we just didn’t execute properly,” Giordano said after the game. “Everyone had the heart and the effort but it sucks sometimes you can’t have success while putting in all of that effort.”
Caron vs. Giordano’s Shootout
In the second period, the intensity from both teams began to pick up, however the two catalysts for both teams appeared to take over. For the Cougars, Giordano seemed to be involved in almost every score in some form of fashion. Giordano found ways to contribute offensively, and defensively and assisted others in scoring also. Unfortunately, the Kangaroos had a catalyst of their in Caron.
For a moment, it appeared these two were trading shot after shot and good play after good play. In the opening minutes of the period, Giordano cut down the middle of the field to get fed the ball for an easy strike to ultimately tie the game, 2-2. Naturally, this gave the Cougars the momentum they needed to score and play with high intensity. This led, to freshman attacker Zoe Sabosik scoring and giving the Cougars their only throughout the entirety of the game, 3-2.
In spite of Kean's offensive intensity, it was no match for Caron’s will and determination. With eight minutes remaining, the Kangaroos were able to diminish the Cougars momentum with a goal from senior midfielder Samantha Dayter assisted by Caron to tie the game up, 3-3. In the last five minutes of the half, there were a total of four goals between both teams. That said, the Kangaroos were leading the Cougars at halftime, 6-4.
Ultimately, Dayter finished the game with five goals, however two were scored in this period. Caron ended the game with six goals, only managing to score one of her own in this period. In the first half, Caron accounted for three of the six goals for the Kangaroos and Giordano accounted for two of the four goals for the Kean.
“Coming into the game, we knew Caron would be a problem for us,” Johnson said. “She’s a good player and she’s hard to defend. The hard part about defending Caron is she can drive, receive inside, and feed. We played a few different defenses and sometimes good players just get the better of you. I thought she did a fabulous job and she’s a fantastic player!”
Kean Cougars Plan to Bounce Back
In the second half, Coach Johnson’s speech really resonated with the Cougars, and their play displayed that. In fact, 30 seconds into the half, Sabosik exploded and scored a goal to cut the deficit to one. From this point, both teams went on an onslaught of prolific scoring. So much so, that it appeared it was hard for either team to establish momentum because the opposite answered so frequently.
“In the first half, I think we need to start more aggressively because, in the 2nd half, I know we were more aggressive, Giordano said. “We need to just get off to a stronger start at the beginning of the game.”
At the end of the third period, the Cougars trailed by four goals, 11-7.
That said, in the fourth period, the Cougars were attempting to send the game into overtime or outscore the Kangaroos to win it. Kean nearly succeeded, however the combination of Dayter and Caron proved to be too much. As the game was within arms reach, the faceoff to ensure the win within seconds left of regulation was secured by Caron, who later ran the clock out.