Lakers stay strong after recent split

Senior Mackenzie Kjerstad (right) looks to advance the ball and evade a SUNY Canton defender during Oswego State’s 9-8 home win over the Kangaroos.  (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
Senior Mackenzie Kjerstad (right) looks to advance the ball and evade a SUNY Canton defender during Oswego State’s 9-8 home win over the Kangaroos. (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

The Oswego State women’s lacrosse team split its past two games, improving its record to 5-2.

The Lakers defeated SUNY Canton on March 27 by a score of 9-8 and two days later, lost in its first conference game against SUNY Fredonia on March 29, 10-8.

On Saturday, Oswego State played competitively against a strong Fredonia team. However, the Blue Devils’ second half performance proved to be too much for the Lakers. Coming out of halftime tied at five, the Blue Devils scored the next five goals to put the game out of reach.

The Kleine sisters had the biggest impact in the game. Kassie Kleine, the Lakers’ fifth-year midfielder, led Oswego State in goals with three. Her sisters, Kristie Kleine, a freshman and Katie Kleine, a senior, each had two goals for the Blue Devils.

The Lakers jumped out to an early lead. The elder Kleine kicked off the scoring with an unassisted goal at 27:23 of the first half. Emily Lange doubled the Lakers’ lead less than two minutes later at 25:49 with an unassisted goal of her own.

The Blue Devils’ leading goal scorer, Marissa Cussins, scored her 25th goal of the year five minutes into the first half, cutting the Lakers’ lead to one.

Kassie and Kristie Kleine then traded goals before sophomore attacker and leading point-scorer for the Lakers, Erannan Shattuck, scored her first of two goals midway through the first half.

Fredonia continued to build its lead off the strength of two goals from Cussins and another from Katie Kleine.

Kassie Kleine scored at 5:32 to bring the Lakers into halftime with a draw.

The Lakers gave up five goals in 12 minutes to start the second half. Cussins and the Blue Devils Kleine sisters combined to add four more goals, giving Fredonia a 10-5 lead with 15 minutes left to play.

The Lakers attempted a comeback, scoring three goals in the last nine minutes. Shattuck scored her second goal of the game and sophomore attacker Esther Gabriel added a goal with one second left on the clock. However, the Oswego State comeback fell short.

The Lakers got a better result at home on March 27 against SUNY Canton. Lange scored with a little over three minutes left to break an 8-8 tie with the Kangaroos. The goal was the last of three on the day for the sophomore attacker.

Despite having leads of 2-0, 4-1 and 6-2, the Lakers could not put Canton in the rear view mirror. Two goals in the last eight minutes of the first half and one 13 seconds into the second half brought Canton within one goal, 7-6.

Hannah Christiansen, freshman midfielder for the Kangaroos,  scored with eight minutes left in the first half. Joelle Percy followed Christiansen’s goal with one of her own, less than three minutes later. After the Lakers’ Shattuck and Canton’s leading scorer, Tressa Goolden traded goals going into halftime, Christiansen scored an unassisted goal seconds after play resumed.

Oswego State head coach Brandi Lusk said she was not happy about her team’s inability to put Canton away.

“We played flat,” she said. “We didn’t use our speed. We didn’t challenge ground balls. Not our best game.”

Shattuck scored three minutes after Christiansen, allowing the Lakers to regain a multiple goal lead.

However, two goals from Percy erased that lead. Canton’s senior midfielder scored at 15:10 and 4:09, both on assists from Canton’s second leading scorer, Keeley Rice.

Kangaroos head coach Dave Bradman was pleased with his team’s ability to keep up with the Lakers.

“Oswego is arguably the strongest team on our schedule,” Bradman said. “They have excellent athletes and they are well-coached. We had to play up to be in a game like that and I thought today was our best performance.”

Lusk said Canton provided the Lakers with a great challenge.

“Canton definitely played a great game against us.” Lusk said.

Lange saved the day for the Lakers with a goal at 3:13 of an assist from Shattuck. The late goal was something Lusk said she was happy to see.

“We dug deep at the end of the game when it matters,” Lusk said.

Starting net-minder Nikki Greco won her fifth game of the season, making 13 saves in the game and picking up a team-high five ground balls, in addition to forcing three turnovers.

“If it wasn’t for her we wouldn’t have won,” Lusk said, glowing over the performance of her senior goaltender.

The Lakers will start a three-game home stand on Saturday when they will honor their senior class before a conference match up with second-ranked SUNY Cortland.

The Lakers will face another conference rival on Tuesday when they play SUNY Buffalo at the South Athletic Field.