Senior midfielder Emma Rufolo scored her 100th career goal as ESU Women’s Lacrosse completely outclassed the Gannon University Golden Knights 20-3 on Senior Day at Whitenight Field last Saturday.
The five seniors on the team were honored before the game.
They are Rufolo, attacker Brooke Fritz, midfielder/attacker T.J. Jefferis, defender Natalie Jacobs and student assistant Kendahl Nester.
It was a wonderful game for the home team and fans. The Warriors opened the game with six straight goals and led the Golden Knights 14-2 at halftime.
The outcome of the game was never in doubt as the Warriors cruised to a 20-3 win.
Rufolo led the team with five goals and one assist, turning in an outstanding performance on Senior Day.
Sophomore attacker Gianna LeDuc scored four goals, and junior midfielder Hana Cicerelle scored three goals and recorded one assist.
Jefferis tallied five points with two goals and three assists.
Sophomore midfielder Shannon Dent also had five points with one goal and four assists.
It was a great team win for the Warriors, and the offense was lights-out.
Rufolo said, “We did really well. But as we are getting closer to the end of the season, I think we are just trying to come out hot every single game and prove ourselves.”
A late-season injury has also galvanized the team.
“I think also with what happened to K.P. [sophomore defender Kayleigh Pokrivka], we are trying to rally together as a team and play for her too at this point,” Rufolo said.
Pokrivka was sidelined after sustaining an injury in the team’s last game against IUP on April 6.
Jefferis said, “It was nice to see Emma get her 100th goal. She deserves it.”
The senior explained the Warriors’ offensive outburst, “It was really a selfless game,” Jefferis said. “There were a lot of assists, and it was a nice to see.”
Despite the final score, Head Coach Xeni Barakos-Yoder saw some room for improvement.
“We still made mistakes,” Barakos-Yoder said.
“We didn’t make every shot we took today, but we had a great team effort,” stated Barakos-Yoder. “It was great to see everyone contribute.”
Naturally, Barakos-Yoder was very complimentary of her seniors.
Although the seniors were not recruited by the current coaching staff, their four years have been impactful for the program and Barakos-Yoder holds them in high regard.
“T.J. and Emma on the field are going to be hard to replace,” stated Barakos-Yoder.
“Brooke kind of sets the tone for the whole offense, and Natalie is a strong defender.”
Fritz has known her coach for a long time dating back to when she played club lacrosse for Barakos-Yoder at Lanco Elite.
“I knew her [Barakos-Yoder] all through high school,” Fritz said, “When I came here, I committed to a different coach. He ended up leaving, and she came on. So it was nice getting to play for her again.”
Jefferis said that she would miss the game.
“Not all the practices and the running, but definitely the team and the games,” said Jefferis.
For her part, Rufolo is looking forward to playing in more games.
“Playing today was definitely really sad, but I am happy because we have a bunch of other games. It’s not the end,” Rufolo said.
With the win, the Warriors remain in first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Women’s Lacrosse standings.
Currently, ESU (11-3,8-1) is one-half game ahead of second place West Chester University. They will travel north to Erie and play Mercyhurst University (8-4, 5-3) this Saturday, April 20.
Email Ronald at