The postseason hopes for ESU’s women’s lacrosse team would come down to the final game of the season.
A win over IUP would send ESU into the postseason PSAC tournament.
A loss, and the Warriors would need either a loss by Millersville or Seton Hill to advance to the tournament.
In a game that left senior attack Kaitlynn Wiltraut and redshirt junior goalkeeper Jessica Maxwell in tears, the IUP Crimson Hawks beat ESU 15-8 on the sunny and wind-swept fields of George P. Miller Stadium at Indiana, Pa. last Saturday.
ESU’s Maxwell came into this game as the PSAC leader in save percentage (.557). IUP was not deterred.
It was Senior Day for IUP, and the Crimson Hawks were fired up.
IUP’s Amy Weinberg was the first to score on an unassisted goal.
Only ten seconds later, IUP’s Ally Burrows scored her 43rd goal of the season with an unassisted goal to make the game 2-0 IUP
ESU freshman attack Taylor “TJ” Jefferis scored the first goal for ESU to make it 2-1 IUP. But IUP would score the next five out of six goals to increase its lead to 7-2.
After one of IUP’s goals in the first half, Wiltraut came off the field visibly upset and distraught.
ESU head coach Xeni Barakos and Wiltraut exchanged some words, and Wiltraut would remain on the sideline for the rest of the first half and half of the second period.
Despite ESU’s second leading goalscorer watching the game from the sideline for an extended period of time, the tide seemed to turn in favor of the Warriors.
With six minutes left in the first half, ESU would score the next three out of four goals to make the game 8-5 at intermission.
IUP head coach Mindy Richmond may have sensed that the momentum had begun to shift.
During the break, Richmond said to her players, “We do not want to lose this game at home.”
“We have a three-goal lead, and we have to keep it up,” said Richmond.
“We have to get the first two goals of the second half,” said Richmond.
IUP would score the next three out of four goals in the second half for a two-goal differential.
IUP lead ESU 11-6 with twenty minutes left.
The Crimson Hawks would close out the Warriors by scoring the next four out of six goals for a decisive 15-8 win.
ESU’s Maxwell was not her usual outstanding self. She gave up 15 goals and only had 14 saves.
Wiltraut committed five turnovers for the Warriors.
Jefferis scored three goals to lead ESU.
Senior attack Lauren Nunes scored one goal and had two assists. She almost scored two goals, but one of her shots clanged off the goalpost.
As a team, IUP outshot ESU 29-22.
IUP also had a 15-10 advantage in draw controls.
After the game, both Wiltraut and Maxwell were in tears.
To their credit, Wiltraut and Maxwell’s parents were there to support their children.
One of the fathers of ESU’s players said, “Keep your heads held up high, girls.”
The 2016 season comes to a close. The lacrosse team won 12 games, which is a new school record for the program.
Email Ronald at: