MANSFIELD, Conn. – Junior Madison Renaud (Somers) scored goals on her final five shots over the last 17 minutes as the Eastern Connecticut State women's lacrosse team turned a game headed toward a photo finish into a comfortable 22-12 Little East Conference victory over Castleton University Saturday afternoon at Rick McCarthy Field.
Neither team led by more than two goals until Renaud potted her first goal in 34 minutes, then followed up fourth minutes later with another to give Eastern (3-10, 2-1 LEC) a 15-11 lead with 13 minutes left. The two quick strikes fueled a run of seven straight Eastern goals as the Warriors outscored Castleton (5-8, 1-3 LEC) 14-3 in the second half after trailing by one at the break.
The win is the third straight for Eastern and sixth without a loss in the all-time series with the Spartans, a first-year member of the LEC who were undefeated (50-0) in seven years of competition in the North Atlantic Conference.
Renaud, who had eight goals in 25 career matches prior to this year, has recorded 21 goals in the last five outings to take over the team lead with 28 goals. Her seven goals and eight points represent a career high for Renaud.
Eastern led early but had to rally to take its first lead since 5-4 on sophomore Sydney Hogan's (Northford) goal off a feed from junior Tristan Kijak (Windsor) three minutes into the second half. Kijak had converted a free-position shot 1:37 into the second half to tie the game at 9-all.
Renaud, Kijak and Hogan contributed to all of Eastern's goals by combining for 18 goals and four assists. Kijak, last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year, also netted career-highs of six goals and seven points, as did Hogan with five goals and seven points. First-year junior Ally Foster (Oakdale) recorded her first goal to give Eastern a 5-4 lead midway though the first half, and sophomore Alexa Jacobson (Marlborough) chipped in her first goal of the season during Eastern's decisive seven-goal run in the second half.
Sophomore Olivia Donahue (Avon) made nine saves for her second win in as many career starts. Freshman Aiyana Ward (Waterbury) won four draws, Kijak and freshman Bryce Makula (Guilford) three each. Kijak also won six ground balls and caused four turnovers. Makula had four ground balls and freshman Gabby Abramczyk (Bristol) three.
Castleton, which has dropped four straight, got a team-high four goals and five points from leading goal-scorer Emma Best (Salisbury, VT). The Spartans held a +6 advantage in draws, with Megan Wood winning five, Erin Shuttle, Best and Katie Feeney winning four each. Erlande Georges picked up a team-high four ground balls.
Eastern hosts Western Connecticut Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in a conference match.