Wittenberg University’s lacrosse team was not leaving DePauw University’s turf without a victory on Saturday.
The 16-9 defeat marked the visiting Tigers’ 27th-straight regular season conference win. Even with the loss DePauw improved from last season when Wittenberg proceeded to score 17 times in the first half of the game and eight in the second to a final defeat, 25-12.
DePauw knew the game would be tough and this rung true after the first three minutes when the women fell behind Wittenberg by five goals.
“Wittenberg traditionally has been one of the best teams in the NCAC, and this year is no different,” sophomore goalie Liz Hawkins said. “Their offense is dynamic, their transition is quick, and they are quick off the draw.”
Wittenberg also had a very aggressive team, but DePauw didn’t let that pressure affect them first-year Marisa Ellison said.
“[We moved] the ball quickly, whether in transition or settled offense, feeding into the 8 and receiving a feed to quickly get a shot off,” Ellison said.
The women also played a strong defense to keep the score closer than it has been in past years.
“We worked hard to mark the cutters tight and applied pressure on the ball carrier which helped in the second half tremendously,” Hawkins said. “The defense did a great job at forcing them to take bad angle shots and then getting open in the clear.”
Wittenberg dominated in draw control winning 20 out of 27, which is where the DePauw Tigers found their weakness.
“To increase the amount of opportunities we had to score, we had to win the draw,” Hawkins said. “Winning the draw equals possession and another opportunity to score, and we only won a few throughout the entire game.”
DePauw senior Carey Kunz led the Tigers with four goals and Ellison added a pair. Hawkins totaled 17 saves. On Wittenberg’s team Becca Joseph scored seven, Logan Warye scored six and Megan Loofbourrow finished with three.
DePauw’s team has shown growth from the past seasons, but losing is never easy.
“We were all hungry for a win but unfortunately dug ourselves into too big of a hole to get ourselves out of,” sophomore Emily Scinta said. “We didn’t win but we realize that we made mistakes and struggled on the draw controls. We are going to work on mixing up the draw and getting all of the ground balls.”
Tuesday the Tigers will face Ohio Wesleyan University and are looking to come out victorious after falling to the Battling Bishops a year ago.
“We want to set the pace of the game, get an early lead, and keep up the momentum,” Ellison said. “We want to be a strong competitor in conference, so this is an important game to win.”