BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – Senior Emma Palumbo scored a career-high five goals and classmate Meaghan Sheehy scored on a free-position shot with nine seconds remaining to lift the Saint Anselm College women's lacrosse team to a 15-14 victory over Bloomsburg University on Friday at Steph Pettit Stadium.
Bloomsburg (1-1) rallied from five goals down early in the second half and from two goals down with 3:11 remaining to tie it at 14-14 with 56 seconds to go on a Hannah Jaskuta goal. Following the goal, Erica Mattila won the draw control and Saint Anselm (2-2) eventually won a free-position opportunity, which Sheehy buried for the game-winning goal to decide the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Sheehy's winner marked the second-straight game the Hawks have won on a free-position shot in the final 30 seconds after junior Molly Beck sent Saint Anselm to an 18-17 win over Georgian Court on Monday. Beck's goal came with 23 seconds remaining. Three of Saint Anselm's four games this season have been decided by a single goal.
In addition to Palumbo's career-high five goals, Sheehy and Breda Holland each scored three times, with Sheehy also adding three assists for a six-point afternoon. Mattila also finished with six points, adding four assists and eight ground balls to her two goals. Beck had a team-high nine draw controls, while Lauren Lockard set a career high with eight ground balls – the most by a Saint Anselm player since Katherine O'Hara had nine against Bentley on April 20, 2010. Lockard and Palumbo each had three caused turnovers as well.
Senior Zoie Cavotta evened her record at 2-2 on the season with nine saves, giving her at least nine stops in all four games this season. Angela DiPasquale stopped 15 of the 30 shots she faced for Bloomsburg, which was led offensively by Grace Kelleher's three goals and two assists.
After Palumbo opened the scoring 1:06 into the game, Bloomsburg rattled off three-straight goals and held a 4-2 lead with 16:20 remaining in the opening half on a Tracy Rusen goal. That goal, however, would be the final tally of the first half for the Huskies, as the Hawks scored the half's final six goals to lead 8-4 at the break. Five different players accounted for the six consecutive goals for Saint Anselm.
Sheehy set up Palumbo for a goal 5:27 into the second half that gave the Hawks a 10-5 lead before Bloomsburg battled back to set up the dramatic conclusion. With Saint Anselm still ahead by five, 12-7, with 16:49 left, the hosts scored five-straight goals to knot it at 12-12 inside the final six minutes.
Holland restored the Hawks' lead with 4:41 left and Mattila extended the advantage to two, 14-12, with 3:11 on the clock. Just 22 seconds later, Rusen made it a one goal game again and Jaskuta tied it inside the final minute, setting up Sheehy's heroics.
Sheehy's game-winner was the lone free-position shot converted by Saint Anselm, which was 1-for-5 in the game, compared to 5-for-7 for Bloomsburg. Mattila and Beck's 17 combined draw controls helped the Hawks enjoy a 19-13 advantage in the category, helping offset Bloomsburg's 33-30 edge in ground balls.
Saint Anselm opens Northeast-10 Conference play against Southern Connecticut State on Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m. The game is also the Hawks' home opener at Grappone Stadium.