Women's lacrosse scores 12-7 win over No. 18 Amherst

Jenna Dannis '12 had four goals, two assists and five draw controls for Bates in a 12-7 win over Amherst. (File photo)

LEWISTON, Maine -- No. 18 nationally ranked Amherst closed a 6-1 deficit down to 8-7 with 2:35 to go in regulation, but the Bates women's lacrosse team finished the game with four unanswered goals for a 12-7 NESCAC victory on Saturday at Garcelon Field.

Junior Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.) scored four goals and added two assists, including two goals and one assist in the final 1:42, to lead the Bobcats (3-4, 2-2 NESCAC) to their first win over a ranked opponent this season. Junior Joan O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.) added four goals and one assist, and senior Briana Gross (Andover, Mass.) contributed two goals and two assists.

Sophomore Jenn Brallier (Chambersburg, Pa.), this week's NESCAC Player of the Week, also contributed a pair of goals along with a game-high six draw controls. Bates dominated draw controls by a 16-4 margin in the game.

Senior Mara Krueger (St. Louis, Mo.) made eight saves, including four key ones early on that allowed Bates to hold Amherst scoreless for the first 23:51 of the first half.

Marta Randall, who entered the game leading Amherst with 19 goals, was held scoreless for the first 51 minutes of the game, but she finished with a team-high two goals. MC McClellan played the final 39:11 in goal for Amherst and made four saves against eight goals allowed; Lamia Harik started and allowed four goals while stopping one shot.

Bates led wire to wire, beginning with Gross's unassisted tally less than six minutes in, which answered a pair of long Amherst possessions that went scoreless for the Jeffs. Dannis scored two straight, including a dazzling high reach for a pass by Gross, followed quickly by a redirection into the Amherst net from a tough angle. O'Neill slung a shot past Harik while falling over to make it 4-0 with 9:11 to go in the first period.

Hillary Densen got Amherst on the board with 6:09 to go in the first period, closing the gap to 4-1, where the score stood at the break.

O'Neill assisted Brallier's 17th goal of the year to open the scoring in the second half with 26:34 left, and the junior attacker added her second goal of the game with 24:51 to go, putting Bates on top 6-1.

Amherst answered with a 4-0 run, starting with three straight free-position scores, by Natalie Dugan, Alex Philie and Caroline Holliday, respectively. After an eight-minute scoreless drought for both teams, Randall came through with her first goal of the game, using a brilliant spin move to get past two Bates defenders before finishing from close range. Amherst had closed to gap to 6-5 with 8:51 left in the game.

O'Neill was awarded a free-position shot soon after Bates controlled the ensuing draw, and she stuck it in the net to end Amherst's run and give Bates some breathing room at 7-5 with 8:16 to go. Amherst called timeout, but with 6:58 left in the game Gross made a nice catch behind her from Dannis and scored in traffic for an 8-5 advantage.

Amherst still smelled blood, however, and after Krueger saved a free-position shot by Randall, the Jeffs retained control and got a goal by Kelley Trapp on an assist by Meredith LaRose with 4:10 left. Amherst then closed the gap down to one again, at 8-7, with 2:35 to go, when Randall converted a free-position shot.

With Amherst perhaps expecting Bates to try to kill time off the clock, the Bobcats instead scored four more times, winning each draw control down the stretch and scoring on four straight shots. O'Neill beat McClellan after shaking free with 2:13 to go. Dannis then controlled the draw and fed Brallier for another score with 1:42 left. Dannis made it 11-7 with 1:29 left, controlling another draw and racing 20 yards through a wide-open gap in the Amherst defense. The Bobcats wound the remaining time off the clock before junior Caroline Pierce's (Weston, Mass.) looping pass from behind the goal over the Amherst defense set up a final shot by Dannis, which found the net with 0.8 seconds left on the clock for the final margin of 12-7.

First-year SooHee Yoon (Lexington, Mass.) had a stellar defensive game for the Bobcats with four ground balls, four draw controls and two caused turnovers. Philie led Amherst with four ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Bates plays another home game tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., against non-conference opponent Wellesley. Bates' home games can be followed via Live Stats and Video Webcast.

Stats and Play by Play: Bates 12, Amherst 7