See You Later, Gators: Lax Wins 14–3
Despite a hot start bolstered by a crowd of boisterous fans, the women’s lacrosse team suffered its first loss of the season 15–12 against the Denison University Big Red in a tense back-and-forth contest last Saturday. Oberlin quickly bounced back though, securing a 14–3 win against the Allegheny College Gators Tuesday night. Now 9–1 overall and 3–1 in conference play, Oberlin sits comfortably in second in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
“The first real competition we saw was Denison, and that was startling for us, as well as a growing point,” said sophomore midfielder Hayley Drapkin, who has already tallied 19 goals in a breakout season this year. “We need to keep getting better, keep improving for the games to come.”
Drapkin began the scoring barrage against the Gators just three minutes in, and goals soon followed from junior midfielder Natalie Rauchle and first-year midfielder Eliza Amber. Amber would finish the day with a hat trick, and Rauchle, who already had 40 goals this season, finished with seven more. Rauchle’s dominating performance this season has already earned her two NCAC Player of the Week honors, and puts her on track to break records.
“My success stems directly from the team chemistry this year,” Rauchle wrote in an email to the Review. “We’ve all been able to strive off of each other’s support and positivity. Everyone is finding personal success throughout the whole team and unfortunately stats only show the scoring part of it. I wouldn’t be scoring if not for everyone else working just as hard to get the ball up to the attacking side.”
The game included a solid performance from the Yeowomen’s defense, who shut the Gators out until the second half. The defense has held opponents to three goals or less four times this season. Senior goalkeeper Alexa L’Insalata, who won All-NCAC Defense Player of the Year in 2015 and was selected to the All-NCAC First Team in 2016, recorded 13 saves in 52 minutes against the Gators. She echoed Rauchle’s comments, attributing her success to a total team effort.
“I ascribe my individual success this year to the rest of my team, and especially my defense,” L’Instala wrote in an email to the Review. “Without my team constantly challenging me at practice I would not be able to perform the same way. Knowing my defense has my back and I have theirs is a big contributor to my individual success and I believe the overall success of the team.”
Several days earlier against the Big Red, the Yeowomen racked up five early goals as a stand full fan section cheered them on after enjoying a pre-game cookout. But Denison quickly answered with two scores, using momentum to ultimately push through for a 15–12 win.
On the defensive side, L’Insalata tallied a season-high 15 saves in 60 minutes of play, but in the end Oberlin’s mistakes just kept piling up. Four goals for the Big Red in the final 10 minutes sealed the deal in a game in which the Yeowomen were outshot 38–21. L’Insalata said back in the locker room the team was unfazed by its first defeat.
“We [took] our first loss of the season just like how every loss should be taken, as a lesson to learn from and as a stepping stone to push off of for improvement,” L’Insalata said. “While we may have lost we also worked very hard and learned a lot about ourselves and our team.”
The Yeowomen now turn their attention to preparing for the final five games of the season, all of which are conference matchups. Head Coach Lynda McCandlish, who won 2015 NCAC Coach of the Year, is focusing on ensuring the team keeps looking forward and does not get caught up in recent ups and downs.
“I think this team has a lot of potential this year, but the season isn’t over, and we haven’t proven that we are better this year yet,” McCandlish said.
Oberlin’s next game is an away matchup against conference rival Kenyon College, currently 5–5 this season. The teams will take to the field in Gambier, Ohio, tomorrow at 2 p.m.