#12 Stonehill Clinches Home Field with Win at Saint Michael’s, 9-3

Sophomore Caitlin Sweeney netted back to back goals in the first half to help the Skyhawks break the game open. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Skyhawks will host NE-10 first round match next Wednesday

COLCHESTER, Vt. (April 24, 2014) – Stonehill College, ranked 12th in this week's Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and Lacrosse Magazine Division II poll, clinched home field for the first round of the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Tournament by closing out the regular season with a 9-3 decision over Saint Michael's College in NE-10 women's lacrosse action at Duffy Field this afternoon.

Senior Kelsey Shannahan (Mendham, N.J./Morris Catholic) scored five goals and added two ground balls and a draw control to lead the way for Stonehill, while junior goalkeeper Ashley Armstrong (Northborough, Mass./Algonquin Regional) preserved the win with eight saves in the Skyhawks goal, including four on free-position shots, while collecting four ground balls.

Junior Mikayla Couch (Towaco, N.J./DePaul Catholic) and sophomore Caitlin Sweeney (Hollis, N.H./Hollis-Brookline) both netted two goals and chipped in with two ground balls and a caused turnover in the contest, while junior Brooke Rudden (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) dished a pair of assists. Juniors Emily Kessel (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) and Cassandra McGill (Westborough, Mass./Westborough) each added a goal for the Skyhawks.

Three different players netted goals for Saint Michael's with markers coming from senior Shannon Murphy (Boxboro, Mass./Acton-Boxborough), junior Kate Boyer (Standish, Maine/Bonny Eagle) and freshman Ali Gosselin (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley). Gosselin also collected three ground balls and a draw control, while senior Nicole Buckley (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) contributed five ground balls and four caused turnovers.

Senior Kelsey Shannahan scored three goals to lead the way for Stonehill. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Sophomore Casey Curtin (Waltham, Mass./Ursuline Academy) started in goal for Saint Michael's and made one save while yielding six goals over the opening 28:43. She gave way to freshman Grace Gunning (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) who recorded five stops and conceded just three goals over the final 31:17. Shots finished even at 19 apiece for the two squads as Stonehill held an 11-9 edge in the first half, while Saint Michael's posted a 10-8 advantage over the final 30 minutes. The Skyhawks also held an 8-6 advantage for draw controls and committed 23 turnovers, compared to 20 for the hosts. Stonehill converted all three free-position shots, while the Purple Knights finished 1-for-6.

Stonehill opened a 7-1 halftime lead and held on over the final 30 minutes to claim the win. Couch put the Skyhawks on the scoreboard 4:19 into the contest and then Shannahan doubled the lead with a free-position goal 47-seconds later at 24:54. Rudden set up Stonehill goals from Couch with 15:36 remaining in the half and then Shannahan with 8:09 left for a four goal lead.

Murphy put Saint Michael's on the board with 6:34 left in the half, but Sweeney answered those marker just 11-seconds later with her first of two straight goals. Sweeney gave Stonehill a five goal lead (6-1) with 1:17 to play in the frame and then McGill added a free-position goal with 53-seconds left.

Gosselin opened the second half scoring with a free-position goal for Saint Michael's 5:31 in. Kessel reclaimed the six goal lead (8-2) with an unassisted strike with 16:04 to play before Boyer's 23rd of the season kept the Purple Knights comeback hopes alive with 7:01 to go. Shannahan capped the scoring and squashed the comeback hopes with her 47th marker of the season off a free-position shot with 4:27 on the clock.

Stonehill (11-6, 9-3 NE-10) is off until opening NE-10 Tournament play with a first round matchup against an opponent to be determined based on the results of this weekend's games. The Skyhawks will host their first round matchup on Wednesday, April 30, at W.B. Mason Stadium (Time TBA). Saint Michael's (6-7, 4-7 NE-10) closes outs its season when it hosts 4th-ranked University of New Haven on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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