WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.- The Ave Maria University lacrosse team fell victim to a second half surge on Friday night, and fell 20-7 to the Patriots of the University of the Cumberlands, the second-ranked team in the newest NAIA Coaches’ Poll. Ave Maria hung around for much of the first half, but Cumberlands scored ten unanswered goals in the second half to pull away from the Gyrenes.
The first goal of the night belonged to Ave Maria, as Emma Davis put a shot in the back of the net just 74 seconds into the match. That early momentum would shift to the Patriots, who scored the next five goals to take a 5-1 lead 12 minutes into the match. Jaclyn Berry scored two of those goals, with one each provided by Rachel Leigh, Florence Andrieu, and Bella Ricchiazzi.
Ave Maria would play even lacrosse with the nation’s number two team over the next 18 minutes, with each team scoring five goals. Emma Davis added two more goals to her early tally, while freshman Orianna Eldridge also added a pair of goals and Aiyanah Simms scored one. Ricchiazzi was the top player for Cumberlands during this period, scoring twice. AMU’s efforts to hang around with Cumberlands had the Gyrenes down 10-6 at halftime.
Holding that 10-6 lead, Cumberlands would come out of the halftime break on a roll, scoring ten consecutive goals to blow the lead open to 20-6. Six different Patriots scored in the second half, with Andrieu scoring three goals and Ricchiazzi and Emily Heim adding two each. The Gyrenes finally broke Cumberlands’ streak with 15 seconds remaining in the match, as Eldridge notched a hat trick with a goal on the man advantage.
Eldridge and Davis both scored three goals for Ave Maria, combining for six of the Gyrenes’ seven goals. Eldridge was also Ave Maria’s leader on the draw, securing five draw controls. Simms led the Gyrenes on defense with three ground balls, while Davis, Alexandra Chunchukov, and Alexa Keeler each added two.
The Gyrenes, who had 20 days between their first and second games, will now have a 17-day gap between game two and game three. Each of Ave Maria’s opponents this season have been nationally ranked, which will not change on March 22, when the Keiser University Seahawks come to Gyrene Field for the home opener. Game time in the first of Ave Maria’s three home games is set for 6:00 p.m. on the AMU campus.