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ERAU: Villareal Kenahan Gets First Win as Head Coach in Women’s Lacrosse’s Dominant 18-9 Victory Over Young Harris

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via Embry-Riddle press release/website, by Kyrin Mayfield, photo by Alison Smalling


YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – From start to finish, the Embry-Riddle women’s lacrosse team dominated Young Harris to win 18-9 on a soggy Wednesday afternoon. Nine different Eagles scored, led by four from Kenley Zeruto, which tied a career high. Samantha Reich also recorded a hat trick. She was one of five members of the Blue and Gold to pick up their first goals of the season, including Leah Coletti as she notched her first career score. The others were Reich, Zariah DurhamPaige Jones, and Anna Maurer

Maurer also tied her single-game best with four assists while Alexa Zeruto assisted on three goals. In the net, Aubrey Fixen (1-1) earned the win after stopping five shots and allowing only six goals in 52 minutes on the field. Rylie Bryant took over for the final eight minutes and recorded a save. 

The victory gives ERAU its third straight win against the Mountain Lions and moves the Eagles up 3-1 in the all-time series. Additionally, it was Caitlin Villareal Kenahan‘s first win as head coach of the program. 

Embry-Riddle (1-1) suffocated Young Harris (2-2) defensively in the first quarter as the Eagles held the Mountain Lions to just one shot and no goals. On the opposite end, ERAU used 13 shots to score seven times in the period. 

Kenley Zeruto started the scoring at 3:28 into the game when she received a pass right in front of the net and easily pushed her shot past the goalie. Less than two minutes later, Kenley Zeruto got her second goal on a free-position shot. 

With 7:34 left, Alexa Zeruto squeezed through a pair of Mountain Lions and spun to her right to get separation from a third defender. She dumped the ball off to Sallie Squire who converted on her shot attempt to make it 3-0.

Jones and Maurer then were successful on their free-position shots before the Zeruto sisters connected to double the Eagle lead. Kenley Zeruto needed just a single period to complete the hat trick as she received a pass from Maurer on the right side and launched a shot into the top right corner to give ERAU a 7-0 advantage at the end of the first 15 minutes of action. 

Squire made it 8-0 with her second goal before YHC finally got on the board with 10:09 left in the second. Stela Chepenik scored twice in exactly one minute. Her goal at the 7:46 mark was impressive as her back was to the goal with a defender closely guarding her. Despite this, the sophomore still managed to accurately send a no-look bouncing shot into the goal’s bottom left corner. 

Young Harris subsequently went on a 3-0 spurt to trim the Eagle lead to 10-4, but ERAU gained the momentum right back when Jones found an opening in the bottom right corner with 1:34 to send ERAU into the break up 11-4. 

The third period was also dominated by the Blue and Gold. Though Young Harris scored twice in the first three-and-a-half minutes, the Eagles accumulated six goals in the quarter. Kenley Zeruto’s fourth goal came with 12:05 to go. Not even a minute later, Reich joined the party when she sprinted uncovered into the arc and beat the goalie on the right side. She earned a hit trick later in the period when she stole the ball from an opposing player’s stick and ran straight toward the goal to score.

Durham also notched a pair of goals, one assisted by Alexa Zeruto and the other by Maurer. With 15 minutes left to play, the Eagles possessed a commanding 17-6 advantage. 

Coletti capped off the scoring for Embry-Riddle with 8:04 to go in the fourth. Even though the Mountain Lions did tally three more goals, the game was never in doubt as the Eagles won 18-9.

The most jarring stat of the game was regarding free-position shots. For just the fourth time in program history, the Eagles prevented the opponent from taking such a shot.  

Next up is the Eagles’ home opener against Gannon on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m., the first of five consecutive home contests.