By Spencer MacDonald
The Kalamazoo College Women’s Lacrosse team won their conference opener against St. Mary’s on Wednesday 16-9, however, dropped their second contest on Saturday at Alma by a score of 12-8.
Coach Ward and the Hornets handily dispatched the first-year program of St. Mary’s, breaking a 4-4 deadlock with a three-goal run to end the half. Kalamazoo outscored the Belles 9-5 in the second half en route to the program’s first win in the MIAA. Seven different Hornets found the back of the net including first-year midfielders Anika Sproull and Nicole Huff, who combined for 10 of the 16 goals. The Hornet defense came up with another strong performance, forcing 21 St. Mary’s turnovers to Kalamazoo’s 10. Sproull was once again a key-player for the Hornets, tacking-on 8 goals in the contest to add to her second best in the conference goals-per-game average of 3.5.
“It was a huge first game to win,” said Sproull. “We’ve been practicing for months now and went on a spring break training trip before this game, which has really helped us play together as a team.”
Kalamazoo followed up Wednesday’s win with a close loss at Alma College on Saturday. The Scots, who were projected to finish second in the MIAA, outshot the Hornets on a close margin of 21-19, but held a steady lead throughout the second half after a close opening period. Huff led the scoring for Kalamazoo with 2 goals and Sproull, Marissa Dawson, Clare Jensen, and Alivia DuQuet all beat the Alma keeper for one goal apiece. While the two teams were relatively even in shots, Alma had 16 ground ball pickups to the Hornets eight and 11 draw controls to eight. The Scots were able to answer almost every Kalamazoo goal with a goal of their own, stemming any potential runs quickly.
Although the season is still young, the Hornets are positioned well in the hunt for a top-four finish and MIAA playoff spot. They currently sit tied for fourth with both Alma and the Knights of Calvin College. Even with the loss to Alma, the team remains extremely optimistic about their chances in conference play and the opportunity for a postseason run.
“We’re still in a good spot,” said Sproull following the defeat. “Coach Ward told us that we’re only allowed to lose to Alma and Adrian in conference so we’re on pace there. I think we might surprise some people against Adrian.”
The Hornets will get their opportunity when they return to action to take on first-place Adrian College on the road on Tuesday, March 18.