COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – A first-half scoring spree was just enough for the Ursinus College women's lacrosse team to stave off a furious rally by visiting Swarthmore in a 14-12 Centennial Conference shootout on Saturday.
Junior Franny Liberatoscioli and sophomore Emily DiGiorgio each had four goals for the Bears (4-5, 1-1), who netted four in a span of 1:51 in the opening minutes to open up a 6-1 lead. Liberatoscioli – who matched her career high with five points – was a force on both ends of the field, adding six draw controls, three ground balls, three caused turnovers, and an assist to her remarkable all-around effort.
Last year, Swarthmore (5-3, 0-2) led 10-3 with under 20 minutes to play before a massive comeback by Ursinus resulted in a 12-11 overtime victory. This time around, it was the Bears who were forced to survive a late push, leading by as many as six goals until the Garnet made a game of it in the final minutes.
DiGiorgio's goal just 55 seconds after opening draw, a spin and fire at the left post, was a precursor to a forthcoming outburst from a Bears offense that clicked on all cylinders over the first seven minutes.
Liberatoscioli doubled the advantage on a free-position shot and, after Swarthmore got on the board, freshman Haley O'Malley kick-started a stretch of four goals in less than two minutes with a remarkable play. The rookie cut in on crease, took a pass from Liberatoscioli, and used a shot fake and several dekes to free herself for a low shot that made it 3-1 at the 23:53 mark.
Forty seconds later, Libertoascioli got a gift when the Garnet was unable to connect on a pass behind its own net, the ball coming right to Liberatoscioli for an easy finish into a wide open net. Liberatoscioli completed her hat trick 50 seconds after that with a running shot, and senior Amy Kohout's bouncer capped the burst and made it 6-1 with 22:02 to play in the period.
DiGiorgio added a free-position goal and a top-shelf rip with 3:39 left in the frame to finish off her own hat trick and send Ursinus into intermission with a 9-4 lead.
Liberatoscioli also racked up five draws, three ground balls, a caused turnover, and an assist in the first 30 minutes of action.
Briana Narzikul pulled the Garnet to within 9-5 early in the second half, but senior Lindsey Grabell roofed a running shot to restore a five-goal margin, and DiGiorgio's fourth of the day made it 11-5 with 21:34 to play.
The Garnet scored back-to-back goals 32 seconds apart to close to 11-7 at the 19:38 mark. Liberatoscioli was there to play momentum-stopper, firing a running left-hander into the back of the net just 91 seconds later.
After a Swarthmore goal, sophomore Abby Goldstein got behind the defense and cashed in a nice look from Kohout to give Ursinus a 13-8 lead with 9:18 remaining. That came after a brilliant save from sophomore Kaitlyn France, who used her helmet to save a free-position attempt and stoned another free shot a few minutes later.
Markers by Narzikul and Elizabeth Wainwright brought the Garnet to 13-10 with 2:37 showing on the clock, but Kohout picked out sophomore Bridget Sherry on the doorstep for an easy high-to-low finish insurance tally at 1:55. Wainwright's fourth of the day came just seven seconds later, right off the draw, and Narzikul trimmed the margin to 14-12 at the 1:09 mark.
Goldstein, however, controlled the ensuing draw and the Bears were able to run out the remaining time.
Goldstein scored two goals, Kohout collected a goal and two assists, and sophomore Bridget Sherry recorded four draws, three ground balls, and a pair of caused turnovers. Senior Lisa Grous had three grounders, two draw controls, and a caused turnover.
In a game in which the teams were even in draws (14-14), turnovers (14), and even fouls (25-25), France's 10 saves loomed large for the Bears, who were outshot 26-24.
Wainwright collected four goals for Swarthmore, which got three from Narzikul and two each from Taylor Chiang and Tess Wild. Betsy Cohen made six saves in 39:50 of action before being replaced by Lily Fornof.
Ursinus improved to 14-1 all-time against the Garnet in Collegeville, including a perfect 13-0 in regular-season home games.
The women's lacrosse team heads to Washington College for a CC contest on Wednesday. Opening draw is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Bears score early and often to put down Swarthmore in Centennial Conference action.