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Clarkson laxwomen extend strong start to 4-0; SLU laxmen fall to Middlebury

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL - For the second time in four seasons, and only the second time ever, the Clarkson University women’s Lacrosse team has begun the year with four straight victories as the Golden Knights earned a 8-5 win over Washington & Jefferson Wednesday afternoon.

The Golden Knights moved to 4-0 on the season, matching the program’s best start ever (2010), while the Presidents fell to 2-4. Clarkson will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Thursday night before returning to Potsdam.

Clarkson scored the first three goals of the contest and never trailed, with the Presidents only rallying early in the second half to tie the score at 4-4. The Golden Knights tallied four of the final five goals in the game to finish off the 8-5 victory, including an insurance goal from Katie VanDeValk (Baldwinsville, NY) with 1:11 remaining.

VanDeValk led the team in scoring with five points, recording four goals and an assist, pushing her early-season totals to 15 goals and five assists for 20 points. Classmate Alyssa Cristaldi (North Syracuse, NY) scored three goals and pushed past 200 career points. The senior attacker is also within two goals of tying the school-record for career goals (144), established by Kimberly Loucks in 2010.

VanDeValk and Cristaldi accounted for the majority of the Clarkson offense, though junior Marissa Mastronardi (Cortland, NY) also scored a goal, her fourth of the season. Freshman Christine Wright (Watertown, NY) had four minutes worth of penalties, but still led the team with four groundballs. For the Presidents, Brittany Fradkin and Danielle Cochrane each scored twice, while Alex Dikos added the other goal.

Junior Kara DiNatale (Auburn, NH) made eight saves in the Clarkson goal, as the Knights owned a 23-17 edge in shots. W&J goalkeeper Julia McLellan stopped 13 shots as the majority of the Clarkson’s shots (21-of-23) were on the Presidents’ cage.

SLU LAXMEN FALL TO MIDDLEBURY

The St. Lawrence University men’s lacrosse team led nationally-ranked No. 14 Middlebury College throughout most of the first half, but the Panthers owned the final 30 minutes, outscoring the Saints 9-2 in the second half en route to an 11-4 win at Hall-Leet Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Panthers remain unbeaten at 4-2 (2-0) thanks to a sound 39-23 advantage in shots and a 25-23 edge in ground balls. St. Lawrence falls to 2-3 after struggling to protect the ball in the second half. The Saints completed only 5-of-11 clears in the second half and committed 21 turnovers in the game.

First-year student Jeremy Vautour scored a hat trick for the Saints in the loss, while senior co-captain Tucker Garfield added a goal and an assist. Senior goalie Jack Nuland was outstanding in the first half, making 10 saves to keep his team in the game. However, he made only four in the final two quarters, finishing with 14 in the effort.

St. Lawrence owned a 2-1 advantage after the first quarter, as Garfield and Middlebury’s Harrison Goodkind exchanged goals before Vautour roped a low laser past Panther goalie Nate Gaudio in the final minute of the stanza. Nuland was outstanding in the second quarter, refusing shot after shot to keep his team ahead until the final seconds before halftime. Joel Blockowicz scooped up a rebound and beat Nuland to tie the game at 2-2 with only 5.5 seconds left until intermission.

Blockowicz’s goal would shift the momentum entirely in Middlebury’s favor, as the visitors rattled off seven straight goals to seize control. Stew Kerr’s man-up goal at 4:42 of the third gave the Panthers their first lead. Jon Broome and Kerr would then tally goals only 11 seconds apart for a 5-2 advantage with 9:35 to play in the third.

Erich Pfeffer and Mike Giordano would add goals for a 5-0 third quarter and a 7-2 lead heading to the fourth. Though Vautour would score twice in the last frame, it wasn’t enough to get the Saints back in the game, as they fell 11-4. Broome, Sean Carroll, Tim Giarrusso and Mike Ford added goals for Middlebury in the final quarter.

Middlebury finished 2-for-4 on man-up, while St. Lawrence was 0-for-3. Gaudio earned the win in net for the Panthers with nine saves, including four in the first quarter when his team was being outplayed.

Senior Josh Robinson added a game-high five caused turnovers for the Saints and a pair of ground balls, while Sam Marvin had three of each.

St. Lawrence will look to snap its three-game losing skid on Saturday when it opens the 2013 Liberty League season in Saratoga Springs, NY against Skidmore College at 1 p.m.

SUNY CANTON GAME POSTPONED

The home women’s lacrosse game today against Roberts Wesleyan College has been postponed due to inclement weather.

SLU TRACK STALWARTS HONORED

St. Lawrence University freshman Spencer Patterson was named the Liberty League Indoor Track and Field Rookie of the Year after claiming the conference titles in both the mile run and the 800-meter run.

SLU sophomores Carly Stine and Divya Biswal also were honored by the conference.

Stine was named the co-winner for Track Performer of the Year, and Biswal won Field Performer of the Year. Stine won the conference title in the 400 and Biswal won the 60 hurdles, triple jump and long jump.

SLU women’s coach Kate Curran was named Coach of the Year.

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