NEW BRITAIN, CT (April 10, 2011) - The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team battled back from down three goals in the second half to close out the game on a four-goal run to come away with a 11-10 Northeast Conference win at Central Connecticut State Sunday afternoon. Junior Kaitlin Rochler scored twice during the rally including the game winner with 2:39 left and sophomore Megan Pepe(East Quogue, NY) preserved the win making a save with three seconds left as SHU improved to 2-3 in the NEC this year.
The Pioneers (3-9, 2-3 NEC) got three goals and an assist from Rochler while freshmen Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY) and Shelby Vaccaro (Brightwaters, NY) posted a pair of goals each in the win. Sophomore Emily Pepe (East Quogue, NY) scored a goal and dished out three assists to add to her team-leading total (21) for the season.
Slow offensive starts proved costly to the Pioneers in consecutive losses to Quinnipiac and Bryant heading into the match-up with CCSU but SHU wasted little time on Sunday getting their attack in gear. The Pioneers jumped in front 3-0 by 22:25 as Russo, senior Jessica Ingrilli (Wantagh, NY) and junior Kate Kmiotek (Farmingville, NY) opened the games scoring.
CCSU (6-7, 1-5 NEC) answered right back with three-straight of their own as Michele Conway scored consecutive goals at 20:25 and 20:02 and then set-up teammate Betsy Vendel to tie the game with 19:32 left.
A back-and-forth first half continued as SHU scored the next two with Rochler scoring her first at 15:49 and then dishing to Vaccaro for a 5-3 lead with 14:28 left. Central again answered and closed out the half with goals from Cara Momnie and Lyndsey Mastandrea to send the game into the break at 5-5.
The Blue Devils jumped in front to open the second half off the stick of Meaghan McCurry and she gave her team a 10-7 lead, it's biggest, with 13:17 left in the game. The Pioneer defense would keep CCSU off the scoreboard from there to give the offense the chance for a comeback.
Freshman Samantha Villafranca(Wading River, NY) started the SHU rally with an 8-meter goal at 11:47. Rochler and Russo followed with unassisted markers at 9:56 and 5:14 to knot the game at 10-10. Rochler delivered again with 2:39 left, scoring off a feed from Pepe to give the Pioneers their first lead since 14:28 left in the first half.
SHU took the ensuing draw and looked to run out the clock but a turnover with 21 seconds left gave the Blue Devils a last second attempt at to tie. CCSU's Mastandrea got a shot off with three seconds left but Pepe stood tall and made the save of the game to preserve the Pioneer win.
Sacred Heart will close out the home portion of their schedule next week hosting Long Island on Friday afternoon and Wagner on Sunday on "Senior Day".