Report Courtesy of Dr. Jack Breslin
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY - Sparked by four unanswered fourth-quarter goals, including two by the Gaels leading scorer, junior Amy Olsen, who had five in the victory, the Iona women’s water team nipped St. Francis College 11-10 in the first game of two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference matches Saturday afternoon at Marist College.
In the second game of the day, a daring steal and point-blank save by Gael junior goalie Marissa Gaynor preserved a hard-fought 6-5 win over Wagner College.
With the victories, Iona remains in the MAAC’s top spot with seven wins and one loss, and 16-7 overall.
In the opener, trailing 9-7 going into the final period, the Gaels fought back to tie the game at nine on Olsen’s fourth goal with 5:07 to play. Twenty-four seconds later freshman Taylor Silva’s breakaway score on a lead pass from junior goalie Marissa Gaynor put Iona ahead for good with 4:43 left. Olsen’s putback at 3:14 gave Iona an 11-9 edge, but St. Francis trimmed the lead to one a half-minute later. Two Gaynor saves in the closing minute shut down the Terriers threat.
Neither squad scored in the opening six minutes until St. Francis took a 1-0 lead with 3:51 to go in the first period. Freshman Rebecca Mathews netted the Gaels first score at the 1:04, but St. Francis answered to pull ahead 2-1 seven ticks later. Olsen’s first goal knotted the game with 26 seconds in the opening quarter.
Two unanswered goals put the Terriers up 4-2 at the 5:54 mark, but senior Alyssa Turza and Olsen scored to tie the game at four with 2:35 to go in the second period. St. Francis took the lead 5-4 with 26 seconds remaining until intermission.
In the third period, junior Erika Lauraitis, Matthews and Olsen scored, but St. Francis also netted three goals to lead 8-7 going into the final period.
In addition to Olsen’s five scores, Matthews and Lauraitis hit two goals each, and Turza and Silva scored one apiece.
Against Wagner, junior Sarah Hanly scored Iona’s third unanswered goal putting the Gaels up 6-3 with 7:28 left in the fourth quarter. But over the next three minutes, Wagner rallied with two straight goals to trim Iona’s lead to 6-5 at the 4:28 mark.
With 1:25 left on the clock, Gaynor rushed out of the goal to crush a Wagner break-away dash which would have tied the score. As the final buzzer sounded, she stopped desperation Wagner shot less than a meter in front of the Iona goal.
Holding Wagner scoreless in the first period, the Gaels led 2-0 going to the second on goals by Olsen and Lauraitis. Within two minutes in the second period, Wagner answered with two straight scores to tie the game at two. Three minutes later, Olsen scored again assisted by Turza. Wagner knotted the game at three with 1:31 left to intermission.
A tenacious Iona defense held Wagner scoreless in the third period as freshmen Meghan Mahoney and Silva gave the Gaels a 5-3 lead as the final quarter began.
Olsen led Iona with two goals, while Lauraitis, Mahoney, Silva and Hanly netted one each. On the defensive end, the Gaels made 11 steals, including three by Olsen and five by Lauraitis. Iona drew eleven ejections, four credited to Silva. In addition to her closing minutes heroics, Gaynor recorded nine saves in the win.
On Sunday the Gaels take on Villanova at 10:30 am and Marist at 4:30 pm as they celebrate Senior Day at the Hynes Athletic Center Pool.