Women’s Lacrosse Is the Real Deal

Chris DiGeronimo, Staff Writer

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The University of New Haven Women’s Lacrosse team has been on a rampage so far this season. Led by Graduate Student Kendall Cietek, the Chargers have found a way to stay in every game through their explosive offensive production.

Cietek has lead the way with 28 goals and 34 points through eight games this season which puts her eighth and 12th respectively in the NE-10 Conference. Junior Jessica Mazliah has also contributed in a huge way by assisting on 21 goals and accumulating 39 points, which puts her third and seventh in the NE-10 in the assist and point categories. Senior attack Caitlin O’Brien (31 pts) ranks 17th in the conference which makes three Chargers in the top 20 in points in the NE-10, which is an impressive feat.

Other offensive players that have contributed to this offense have been senior midfield 100 career goal scorer Nicole Belanger (16 pts), sophomore midfield Mackenzie Reh (15 pts), freshman attack Hailey Rattigan (13 pts), sophomore attack Samantha Galler (10 pts), freshman attack Julia Jette (3 pts), and freshman attack Caroline Maher (2 pts).

On the other side of the field, the Chargers defense has been on top of its game throughout the season. The Chargers defense has allowed 75 goals through eight games this season and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.  freshman goalkeepers Gianna Guerra and Erica Rinsky have been standing on their heads and have accumulated 69 goals against, leading to Rinsky accumulating a 47.7% save percentage which ranks her 5th in the NE-10 and Guerra’s 40% save percentage coming in 13th.

At the beginning of the year the Chargers wanted to show everyone that that they are a strong team both offensively and defensively, and through eight games the Chargers have definitely put some of those critics to rest. The team also believed that their team chemistry would be the biggest factor in their success, and as the season has gone on the Chargers have shown that every time they step on the field.

“We are a really tight knit group this year and it shows in the way we play, we capitalize on each other’s strengths and everybody fits in their role,” said Galler.

This goes to show that the Chargers are a tough group to crack, and they are going to continue to grow closer as the schedule gets tougher. The Chargers have had some tough games this season including an overtime win against No.19 Stonehill that included graduate student Kendall Cietek scoring three straight goals in the final minutes of regulation, and a 11-10 thriller over Tiffin that was decided by a last second goal scored by sophomore midfield Mackenzie Reh.

You can almost call this team “The Cardiac Chargers” because of their style of play, and how they always have everyone on the edge of their seats. There are times in games where it looks like the Chargers are in trouble but they are always prepared and always have a plan.

“No matter the score if something isn’t working or a game isn’t going the way we want it too, we know how to fix it. We know how to bring ourselves together and figure out a way to better execute our game plan. We have one common goal, to win, and with constant communication of this goal, we are capable of collectively figuring out how to achieve it, ” Galler said.

The Chargers have pretty much played all of their “should win” games so far this season and they have taken care of business thus far. The Chargers are aware that they have teams like No. 1 Adelphi and No. 3 Le Moyne still to play on their schedule, but that doesn’t seem to rattle their confidence.

“Preparing for teams like this really requires a lot of focus. Watching a lot of film and pinpointing key factors for each team is very important for us and it plays a big part in the way we practice. If we can gather enough information and know what to expect, it really helps us when it comes time for the game” said Galler.

With both the conference and NCAA Division 2 tournaments coming within the next month, The Chargers look poised and ready to take on any challenge that might stand in their way.

In their game against No. 3 Le Moyne on Saturday (April 8), the Chargers suffered their first loss of the season. The Chargers weren’t their usual selves in the first half and they were down 3-0 before they could even get their first shot off.

Le Moyne on the other hand came out firing on all cylinders and looked pretty much unstoppable. Le Moyne’s stubborn defense forced a lot of turnovers, and they were able to get a lot of second chance opportunities that ultimately led to goals.

The Chargers usually play an attack style of offense where they make a lot of cuts to the net, but Le Moyne wasn’t having any of it. It seemed like their game plan was to stop Cietek by being physical with a lot of body contact, this strategy worked because Le Moyne held Cietek to only one goal in the first half.

At halftime, the score was 11-3 and the Chargers were being outshot 16-11, which is rare. During the break 80s motivational ballad Eye of the Tiger blasted through the PA speakers, followed by Rocky’s theme song Gonna Fly Now, both which foreshadowed what was about to happen in the second half. The Chargers came out like a brand-new team to start the second half.

Two minutes into the second half O’Brien scored her 100th career goal to make it 11-4. After giving up two more goals to Le Moyne, The Chargers went on a six-goal scoring rampage that made Le Moyne fans everywhere start to sweat. O’Brien started it off followed by Zoe Wilkins’ first career goal. Cietek then took over by scoring two in a row followed by Galler and what looked like a diving behind the back goal by Mazliah.

At this point, the momentum started to shift, and Le Moyne started to play a prevent offense that took a lot of time off the clock. This helped the Chargers because they were able to get the ball back, but they weren’t able to score at the same rate.

Eventually, Le Moyne scored again and Cietek was able to follow it with another goal, but the Chargers ran out of time and the comeback came up short. The final score of the game was 14-11. This game showed the resilience and the perseverance of this Chargers team.

Even though they were trailing the whole game, it never felt like they were completely out of it. They never gave up, and not once did you ever see anyone hang their head in disappointment. The Chargers’ next game is Wed., April 12 against No.1 Adelphi. If the Chargers are able to play like they did in the second half against Le Moyne, they are going to give Adelphi a run for their money.

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Women’s Lacrosse Is the Real Deal