Lacrosse picks up first-ever Big South win

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Devin Stubbs |

Coming off a loss in their opening conference game against Longwood, Radford women’s lacrosse got two more opportunities to pick up Big South wins last week.

On Wednesday, the Highlanders (5-7, 1-2) faced off against Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-12, 0-2) at Cupp Stadium. Radford defeated the Bulldogs 19-12, resulting in the program’s first-ever Big South victory. Adrian Rius, a sophomore attack/midfielder, scored the first goal in the opening 30 seconds of the game, putting Radford on top right away. Radford was able to keep the lead throughout the first half, but the Bulldogs continued to cut the lead shorter and shorter. After a 6-2 Highlander lead was cut down to 6-4, sophomore attacker Emma Rogers scored twice to put Highlanders up by four goals. The Bulldogs cut the lead with a three-goal run to end the half, and going into the locker room the Highlanders were only leading by one goal, 8-7.

But Radford left little in doubt in the second half, outscoring Gardner-Webb 11-5. A 9-3 run in the final frame to give the Highlanders a seven-goal lead with just seven minutes to go helped to seal the victory for Radford. Rius led the team with 5 goals and 6 draw controls, and the Highlanders landed 32 of 46 shots on goal, resulting in a 69.5 shot on goal percentage.

On Saturday, the Highlanders traveled to Rock Hill, S.C. to face the Winthrop Eagles (4-9, 1-2). Though Highlanders fell to the Eagles, Rius was able to put them in the lead within the first minute of the game. This being the only time they led, the Highlanders had a tough match with these Big South foes. Rius bagged another goal just over 10 minutes into the game, but a 10-goal outburst from the Eagles resulted in an early rout. Freshman midfielder Emily Kowalik was able to end Eagle’s scoring streak and achieve her 17th goal of the season, and Rogers added one more goal before halftime, but the Eagles led 12-4 at half.

Though the second half was closer, and the two teams spent the final 30 minutes trading goals, the opening half deficit was too much for the Highlanders to overcome. Preseason all-conference midfielder Callie Bonnel scored three goals for the Highlanders in the last nine minutes of the game, while Rogers and freshman attacker Lindsey Carroll recorded the final two goals of the game against the Eagles. But despite only being outscored 6-5 in the final half, the Highlanders fell 19-8 against the preseason number two Big South team.

Next up in Highlander women’s lacrosse, the team will host High Point University on Wednesday, April 12 at 4 p.m. in Cupp Stadium.