MARIETTA, Ga. – The Ave Maria University lacrosse team got the 2021 season underway on Saturday evening, travelling to the Peach State for a meeting with ninth-ranked Life University. The Gyrenes would not go away against their top ten foe, but eventually fell 16-13 to the Running Eagles on their home field.
AMU’s first goal of the season came from freshman Monrae Prentice, who scored 2:25 into the game to even the score at one. The Gyrenes actually led for much of the first half, taking their first lead of the season at 3-2 following two goals in 30 seconds from Emma Davis. AMU took the lead at the 25:11 mark of the first half, and either led of were tied for the next 15 minutes thanks to two goals from Alexa Keeler.
Life took the lead back with 10:16 left in the half, as the Eagles scored five of the final seven goals in the first half. Life’s surge in the final 12 minutes of the half allowed the hosts to take a 9-7 lead into the halftime break.
The Eagles also scored four of the first six goals in the second half, accounting for a 9-4 run that built Life’s lead to 13-9. The Gyrenes roared back with four of the next five goals, supplied by Nieve Macedo, Aiyanah Simms, Orianna Eldridge, and Davis. The final goal, Eldridge’s, came on an assist from Jeanine Sullivan that cut the Life lead to 14-13 with 2:03 left.
In the final two minutes, Life found the back of the next twice to finally put the Gyrenes away. Maria Arvizu scored the first insurance goal with 54 seconds on the clock, and Annslee Warchol provided the final goal of the match on an assist from Brianna Freeman in the closing seconds.
Davis was the top offensive threat for the Gyrenes in the season opener, scoring four goals. Keeler and Simms each added two goals, while Eldridge, Prentice, Francesca Paige, and Anna Lapkowicz all scored the first goals of their collegiate careers. Eldridge and Samantha Freeze both had two assists, as well. Life was led by six goals from Freeman and three eac from Lacy Legaspi and Tina Ricci, who also accounted for four assists.
Elsewhere on the field, Eldridge and Davis led Ave Maria with three caused turnovers a piece, while Eldridge and Simms led the way with four draw controls each. In net, Kaylee Wesolowski made 15 saves, and led the Gyrenes with five ground balls. Life’s defense was led by Leanne Windon, who had eight ground balls and seven caused turnovers. Goalie Korenza Heath made ten saves in the win.
Ave Maria will have two and a half weeks before their next game, which will come on March 3 in Kentucky against Georgetown College. That game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on the Georgetown College campus. AMU’s schedule begins with four consecutive ranked teams, with the first three (Life, Georgetown, and Cumberlands) coming away from Gyrene Field.