April 18, 2009

PURCHASE, N.Y. - The Manhattanville women's lacrosse team set a new program single-season record with its 10th victory of the season, a 19-10 triumph over Alvernia University in a hard-fought Middle Atlantic Conference matchup on Saturday afternoon at GoValiants.com Field.

Manhattanville's 10 wins eclipsed the previous program record of nine, set just last season in head coach Anna Riordan's first year with the Valiants.

Coupled with Wilkes University's 15-5 loss at Eastern University today, the Valiants (10-4, 5-4 MAC) currently sit in sole possession of sixth place in the Middle Atlantic Conference with two games to go. Due to Manhattanville's 16-15 win over the Colonels earlier in the season, the Valiants need only one win in their final two games to secure the sixth-seed and spot in the MAC Tournament.

Sophomore Emelda Ogweta (Portland, Maine) and senior tri-captain Katie Bertel (Colorado Springs, Colo.) shared the game-high in goals at four. Senior tri-captain Colleen Holahan (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) and sophomore Cassie Kovac (Saugerties, N.Y.) also tied for the team lead with four points, as each player recorded three goals and one assist. For Ogweta and Holahan, the four goals and four points were new respective career highs.

Alvernia sophomore Felicia Sippel put the Crusaders on the board first 3:03 into the game, scoring her 53rd goal of the season. But Bertel put a quick end to the Crusader lead just 40 seconds later, notching an unassisted tally to tie the game.

After Holahan and Ogweta scored to put the Valiants up by two goals, Alvernia scored three straight goals over the next seven minutes to regain the lead, with Sippel scoring her second goal of the game to put Alvernia up, 4-3, with 15:37 left in the half.

That was the last that Alvernia would see of the lead, however, as Manhattanville rattled off the final eight goals of the first half and allowed the Crusaders just one shot over the final 15:37 to take an 11-4 lead into halftime. Bertel began the game-changing run with her second of the game off an assist from Holahan with 13:24 left, and later in the frame she started a quick string of three goals in 1:29 that helped to deflate the Crusader side.

The visitors tried to get back into the game early in the second half as sophomore Jamie Murtha netted her third of the season 18 seconds in, but Manhattanville responded with the next four scores to quell any Alvernia momentum. Sophomore Jen Ascencio (Monroe, N.Y.) began the run with a beautiful goal, as the attacker split the Crusader defense and fired a shot to the far corner while being checked to the ground for her 18th score of the year.

Holding a 15-5 lead after Kovac's third of the game with 19:26 left, the Valiants did not allow Alvernia to get any closer than eight goals. Ogweta capped the scoring with 10 seconds left, racing down the field to deposit the ball into the back of the net.

Sophomore netminder Kirstin Betsill (Parkton, Md.) made 14 saves on the day to earn the win, in the process breaking her own program record for wins by a goaltender in a single season with 10. Both freshman goaltenders saw action for Alvernia, as Czarnecki made eight saves on 22 shots before ceding the net to Katie Bostwick, who allowed five goals and made two saves in over 21 minutes of action.

Manhattanville will honor its three seniors with Senior Night festivities prior to the team's regular-season home finale against FDU-Florham, held under the lights of GoValiants.com Field on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Alvernia (8-6, 2-6 MAC) will host Lycoming College tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.