By MATT LONGO
While playing at the island paradise of St. Croix, Virgin Islands during spring break, the University of Mary Washington women’s lacrosse team won their fourth game of the season in a 17-9 win over the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers.
The win was the Eagles second in a row, while it was the second straight loss for the Tigers. Mary Washington started out strong, and they never looked back, scoring seven of the first eight goals of the game and leading 8-4 at halftime.
“The team plays at their best when they don’t think and they just do,” head coach Dana Hall said.
Hall went onto say that “playing fast” leads to the team playing at an optimal performance level. She also explained that players use non-verbal language because of instinct and a comfort level from playing with one another.
Many members of the team would have multi-point days, including junior Allie Kimmelman, who led the team with eight points (two goals and six assists). During the game, Kimmelman broke the school’s all-time record in career assists with 125, which surpassed UMW alumna Caitlin Erickson’s former career mark.
“It was very gratifying to break a school record, especially knowing that the previous holder was our former assistant coach Caitlin Erickson,” Kimmelman said. “She has been a huge mentor and inspiration throughout my athletic career and has provided endless support towards following in what she has accomplished.”
Coach Hall also reflected on her junior’s remarkable feat.
“[It’s] pretty amazing,” Hall said. “Every time she sets a player up she will continue to break the record for the next year and a half.”
During the second half, the Eagles continued their solid play by outscoring the Tigers 9-5 and closed out the game with the final four goals of the contest. UMW outshot their opponent 38-22 and dominated ground balls, 26-2.
Kimmelman wasn’t the only Eagle to have an impressive game, as junior Catherine Kennedy also had a strong performance, scoring six goals and adding an assist. Sophomore Addie Hawley had two goals and one assist and sophomore Keller Torrey added two goals and three assists.
“It was evident that we were positive and encouraging to each other even if we made mistakes,” Kennedy said. “We were composed and played gracefully, the way that the game of women’s lacrosse should be played. I think a major reason we were so successful on Friday was because we had fun.”
Kennedy added that she thought the spring break trip helped bring the team closer together.
“I feel that I got the chance to know and become closer with some of my teammates that I haven’t really gotten the chance to hang out with very often,” Kennedy said.
Mary Washington’s goalies, junior Danni Guigli and sophomore Kathryn Stiltz, combined to make eight saves in the Eagles win. Shelby Vakiener of the Tigers led her team in points with four (three goals and one assist).
The Eagles won both games they played in the Virgin Islands, as they had won three days earlier in a game against SUNY College at Oneonta. That first victory of the trip earned Hall her 500th career win.
According to Kimmelman, the team celebrated their coach’s accomplishment with cake and gifts. Coach Hall also received an engraved plaque of mahogany wood that was made on the island commemorating the accomplishment.
“It was definitely a memory I won’t forget,” Hall said.
The Eagles schedule turns toward the more serious portion in the upcoming games, as four of the next five for UMW are all-important conference matches. The team took on Salisbury University at home last night, but the game ended too late for results to be included in this issue.