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Lacrosse opens second season

by Will Beverina |

Radford women’s lacrosse opened up the program’s second-ever season with a slate of three games last week, including two home matchups and a trip to New River Valley-foe Virginia Tech.

The team started the season on Sunday, Feb. 19 with a Cupp Stadium showdown against Saint Francis, the same team they played their first match against in their inaugural season.

The game got off to an auspicious start for the Highlanders, who went into the locker room at halftime with a 6-5 lead over the Red Flash. Freshman Colleen O’Connell gave Radford an early 1-0 lead after scoring her first-ever collegiate goal, and despite a Saint Francis surge that saw the visitors jump out to a 3-1 lead, the Highlanders would fight back for the first half advantage. O’Connell netted her second later in the half, while preseason All-Conference honoree Callie Bonnel added two of her own to go along with goals from Adrian Rius and Emma Rogers for the halftime lead.

Saint Francis wasted no time gaining their lead back, scoring three goals in the first four minutes of the second half for an 8-6 lead. Rius fired back with her second goal of the game to bring the deficit within one for Radford, but another Red Flash assault saw them extend the score to 11-7. Rius would keep working, scoring another two followed by a Bonnel tally to again bring the game within one, but four goals to close out the game from Saint Francis saw the visitors leave Cupp with a 15-10 win.

Radford had a chance for a quick turnaround with a home game against LIU Brooklyn the following Wednesday.

The Blackbirds took less than two minutes to score the game’s opening goal on a Mary McQueen shot, but five straight goals from the Highlanders saw the home team take a 5-1 lead with just under nine minutes to go in the first half. Freshman Lindsey Carroll scored her first two goals for the team, with Rius picking up her fifth of the season sometime later. Sophomore Juliette Ruland and freshman Haley Harris scored their first of the season for the four-goal advantage. The flurry of strikes helped Radford go into halftime with a 7-5 lead.

LIU Brooklyn would get two early second half goals to tie the game at 7-7, but it was all Radford from there on out. The Highlanders outscored the Blackbirds 9-5 in the second half for the 16-10 final result and the team’s first win of the season.

The week’s final game came against No. 20 Virginia Tech, setting up Radford’s first-ever matchup against a ranked opponent. The experienced Hokies lived up to their ranking, scoring the game’s first 15 goals before Emma Rogers broke up the run with Radford’s first goal seven minutes into the second half. Bonnel would score the Highlanders’ only other goal in the 20-2 loss.

Rius led the way for the Highlanders on the week with six goals. Rogers and Carroll added five of their own. O’Connell had the most assists in the first three games with five helpers.

Radford returns to Cupp Stadium with a Mar. 4 game against Delaware State at 11 a.m.

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