IUP women's lacrosse falls to Mercyhurst in PSAC Tournament, 19-11
Published: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 14:05
A late second-half charge by the Crimson Hawks was not enough as IUP lost its PSAC Tournament quarterfinal game against Mercyhurst 19-11 Tuesday night in Erie.
The loss ended a season of many firsts for the Hawks.
Alexa Lodovici led IUP’s offense, scoring five goals with two assists, while setting season program records for points and goals. Her 53 goals broke the previous record of 50 set in 2007 by Jackie Rutkowski, and her 91 points betters the 89 set last season Lodovici’s current teammate Becca Vogt.
“Its exciting that she was able to step up from the beginning of the season,” Head Coach Mindy Richmond said. “She really got it done this year on the attack end. She has come a long way since she was a freshman and has made vast improvements over the past two years. We are excited to have her back next season.”
The Crimson Hawks did not get off to a good start. IUP allowed seven straight goals to end the first half and went into the locker room down 12-2.
“It’s pretty devastating being down that much at halftime,” Richmond said. “But I just kept telling the girls that we were going to fight until the end and that we could get back in it.”
IUP did play a better second half, scoring the games final seven goals, but not before Mercyhurst was able to capitalize on seven more of their own.
“We really struggled on the draw circle,” Richmond said. “They had 24 draw controls to our eight, which hurt our opportunities on the attack end.
“We came out in the second half and were high pressuring and the defense caused a lot of turnovers, which allowed us to go on that run at the end.”
This team will go down in IUP history as the first women’s lacrosse team to make a PSAC playoff birth, where as Mercyhurst has been there consistently over the past few years.
“I suppose experience has a little bit to do with it, along with home field advantage,” Richmond said, “but next year we will have that experience and hopefully it will payoff.”
The loss capped off a very exciting season for the Crimson Hawks. The 2012 teams now holds the record for wins in a season, 11, as well as conference wins in a season, seven.
“The seven conference wins were very important,” Richmond said. “And the fact that we were in the national rankings for the first time was very exciting for us.”
Certainly a season full of accolades and memories, Richmond recalls the win over rival Lock Haven as perhaps the most memorable moment for the team.
“It was a battle of the elements with the bad weather,” Richmond said, “and we upset the number one team in our conference. On top of that we had never beaten Lock Haven before so the girls were really fired up about that.”
Many of IUP’s players filled the stat sheets this season, however, two players really stuck out on the offensive end.
“Simply because you have to put points on the board to have a successful season, I would say our most valuable players were Alexa Lodovici on the attack and Steph Bianco on the draw circle,” Richmond said. “One would get us the possession and the other would get it done on the attack.”
As far as most improved players, two sophomores stood out in Richmond’s mind, one on offense and one on defense.
“Michelle Zakrzewski on offense and Kiera Huntsman on defense really improved a lot,” Richmond said, “and I am excited to have them back next season.”
Those two, along with many other sophomores on the team will make up a large group of juniors next year that will lead the Crimson Hawks.
“I am very excited about the group coming back,” Richmond said. “The chemistry between them is excellent and we have a very strong class of freshman coming in that I expect to have an immediate impact.”