Saturday’s game against Rivier College was filled with firsts for the women’s lacrosse team.
It was the Lions’ first win of the season — they beat the Raiders, 16-10 — after an 0-5 start.
The early season slide began on a spring break trip to California where the Lions dropped all four contests they played in.
When the Lions returned to Boston, they were welcomed home not only by a 9-6 loss courtesy of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but also an injury to their leading scorer and captain, Maeghan Ross.
The senior took a stick to the head on a check that has sidelined her since and there is no timetable on her return.
With their leading scorer on the shelf, the Lions had to find a way to replace Ross’ team-leading output of 18 goals and 21 points.
“She has been missed,” said Krista Firkins, a junior print and multimedia journalism major. “She is a force to be reckoned with on offense.”
It was the first time this season the Lions took the field with a different captain after Ross’ injury; she has held the captain’s title for the past two seasons.
In Ross’ absence, head coach Paula Habel named seniors Katie Dodge and Laura Miley co-captains. Both Dodge and Miley are senior midfielders majoring in marketing communication.
The two attackers didn’t miss a beat and each tallied three unassisted goals, a season-high for Miley.
But the two seniors weren’t the only ones who contributed while Ross was out.
Freshman Chelsea Phillips tallied six goals to lead Emerson, her highest output this season.
According to Habel, the marketing communication major’s success didn’t come as a surprise.
“Chelsea was successful because she is a dynamic player,” Habel said. “She is great not only at scoring goals, but also at having a hand in every draw that the team takes. She has good eyes for the game and can see ways to free up her teammates.”
During a close first half, Phillips scored a goal that extended Emerson’s lead and kicked off a 9-0 scoring run for the Lions.
With just over 13 minutes to go in the first half, Phillips slipped an unassisted goal past the Rivier goalie and started a scoring flurry that didn’t end until well into the second half.
The Raiders snapped the run with an unassisted goal by Vanessa Viola. By then, however, the Lions had worked to a 14-5 lead, crushing any hopes of a Rivier comeback.
“We were all just playing really well together as a team,” Phillips said. “The results just showed what happens when we work together as a team, and that was the difference. Six people scored that day, and the defense played really strong.”
Sophomore Emily Saeger, a film production major, saved 10 of 20 shots and raised her save percentage to .432 on the season.
“Emily had an amazing game and made some crucial saves,” Phillips said of her teammate.
It was also the Lions’ first game of the year played in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
And despite starting 1-5, Firkins said, she is confident about the Lions’ prospects against familiar opponents.
“We played some tough competition in California, so having a game against a GNAC team is nice,” said Firkins. “These are teams that we are very familiar with, teams that some of us have played six, seven, eight times.”
Habel said the victory should help get things rolling for the team.
“It was great to finally get our first win and against a conference opponent,” Habel said. “Our attack was able to find openings and holes in their defense. This win will hopefully get us on the right track and bring us into Thursday’s game against non-conference opponent Curry.”