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March 28, 2016

Women's lacrosse: Cortland responds to tough stick test

Coming into this Saturday afternoon clash of unbeaten and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse squads, The College of New Jersey had been a stingy bunch.
Prior to facing defending national champion and No. 1 ranked SUNY Cortland, the fourth-ranked Lions had allowed opponents just three goals per game while reeling off seven wins without a loss.
But the host Red Dragons answered an opening TCNJ tally with six unanswered goals and went on to secure a 16-9 victory at the Stadium Complex, as Cortland is also off to a 7-0 start after posting the non-league triumph.
It was the fourth time Cortland has conquered a nationally-ranked foe this season. It was also the 69th consecutive home field victory for the Red Dragons, an unbeaten streak that started back in the spring of 2010.
Senior Ashley Gentile had six goals, picked up a pair of assists, secured nine draw controls and scooped up four ground balls for the Red Dragons — who grabbed an 8-3 halftime lead and enjoyed a 35-26 shot advantage on the day. Junior goalie Jaclyn Beshlian was also sharp, coming up with a career-high 13 saves for the Red Dragons.
After Cortney Natalicchio gave the Lions a 1-0 lead with a free-position goal at 26:50, Cortland ran off six straight goals for a 6-1 lead at the 9:35 mark. Gentile scored three times, senior Tara Monaghan notched a pair of goals and sophomore Hannah Elmer collected two assists during the run.
Elizabeth Morrison and Natalicchio tallied back-to-back goals for The College of New Jersey to pull to within 6-3, but Nicole Bello scored at 2:12 and Gentile netted her fourth goal of the game 19 seconds before the half and Cortland held an 8-3 lead.
The Red Dragons scored three of the first four goals of the second half and led 11-4 with 25:48 remaining. The Lions cut the lead to 11-6 on goals from Natalicchio and Mia Blackman.
Elmer and Monaghan answered for Cortland with goals just 41 seconds apart to regain a seven-goal advantage at 13-6. Erin Waller scored from the free position at 8:03, and Natalicchio notched her fourth goal of the game at 5:28 to cut Cortland’s lead to 13-8.
The Red Dragons pulled away again with three goals in a row — scored by Bello, Gentile and Monaghan — in the closing minutes before Erin Harvey’s goal with 28 seconds remaining for TCNJ completed the scoring.
Monaghan finished with five goals and Elmer four assists for Cortland, with junior Kristen Ohberg and frosh Carly Stone also picking up goals. Monaghan secured six draws and caused two turnovers and senior defender Colleen Wright came up with three ground balls.
Senior Natalicchio paced the Lions with four goals and four draws.
Cortland is back in action this afternoon, traveling to Geneva to take on William Smith in a 4 p.m. non-league affair.

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