Lacrosse comes back against Augsburg

Strong second half propels them to 10-8 win.

Jake Kjos, Senior Reporter

In their first game against Augsburg this season on March 29, the Pipers fell short in a 10-12 loss. With home field advantage this time around, the women looked to change their fortunes and get an important victory against a team they see becoming a rival in the future.

The April 15 game started with the Auggies and Pipers going back and forth. Augsburg scored the first goal before sophomore midfielder Dana Almquist cut hard to the goal and received a well-timed pass from first-year midfielder Lexus Tatge. Almquist shot right away and tied the game at 1-1. The pair combined for another goal afterwards helped by Almquist driving once again. The 2-1 lead was the first they would get until later in the second half.

Tatge talked about what makes the team’s chemistry so good.

“I’ve never been on a team that has such great culture. We do a lot of team bonding. We’re normally together almost every day,” she said.

Augsburg then went on a four-goal run to put the Pipers down 2-5. Almquist scored again to stop the Auggie run, but they responded with a goal of their own. The scoring for the half ended after Tatge burned the Augsburg defense and scored to put the Pipers down two at halftime.

Senior attacker Hayley Springer mentioned accurate shooting as one of the things the team has focused on in practice and during halftime.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work on our shooting, shot placement. We set goals at halftime,” Springer said.

Senior midfielder Jordan Nielsen also discussed the team’s tactics.

“During halftime, the coaches talked about what we were doing well and what we needed to work on,” Nielsen said. “We also changed up our draw controls and made that a focus point in the second half, win more draws than Augsburg, and we did that.”

Those goals paid off against Augsburg, as the team cracked down on defense and kept the score tight while building their offensive play. Tatge started the half with another goal after a rebound off the goalie bounced straight up in the air. Tatge caught the ball right in front of the net and scored to cut the lead to one.

Augsburg took a two goal lead once more to make the game 5-7, until Almquist ran around the entire Augsburg defense and scored yet another goal. Both teams held each other in check for long stretches of time, but a foul on Almquist led to a chance to tie the game back up. Almquist capitalized on the chance to score her fifth goal of the game.

First-year attacker Alycia Monserrate Novotny scored the go-ahead goal off an assist from Nielsen, who finished the game with a strong performance. Shortly after the draw from that goal, Nielsen sprinted right down the middle of the defense and scored.

Augsburg nearly came back after scoring to cut the lead to 9-8. They then had an open shot that was shut down by first-year goalie Molly Dionne.

The Pipers started to play possession and passed it around on the Augsburg side of the field until they could find a hole in the defense. Tatge passed to Nielsen who took advantage of an opening and scored. Augsburg made another late rush after pulling their goalie but were shut down once again by Dionne. She blocked a shot that rolled toward the goal-line and picked it up just before it crossed over. The score held at 10-8 as time ran out and the team huddled to celebrate.

Nielsen praised the team’s defense as a major reason for the victory.

“Our defense played an amazing game and stepping up to play a high pressure [defense] in the second half I think was something that helped us win [Friday] night,” Nielsen said.

Springer talked about the difference in expectations between the start of the season and what they will look to do in the future.

“We were just trying to work on our culture and win little battles,” Springer said. “I honestly see us going to the top. Everyone is working really hard.”

Tatge, who has never played lacrosse before, is also impressed with the team’s play.

“Our team’s definitely been one of the better first-year programs. We have a lot of heart and effort,” Tatge said.

The Pipers play a string of home games at Klas Field beginning tonight at 6:00 p.m. against Wartburg.