Women's lacrosse seeks redemption in PSAC playoffs

Ethan Magoc photo: Coach Cecil Pilson, above, and the women's lacrosse team had a down year by their standards. The Lakers look to redeem themselves in the PSAC tournamentEthan Magoc photo: Coach Cecil Pilson, above, and the women’s lacrosse team had a down year by their standards. The Lakers look to redeem themselves in the PSAC tournamentFor most teams, a 12-5 record is respectable. For the Mercyhurst women’s lacrosse team, it is disappointing.

After a 16-2 mark last season, this season brought a few bumps in the road, beginning with a 12-9 loss to Limestone.

Coach Cecil Pilson, like the rest of the team, had high expectations going into the year. The team welcomed back its top two scorers from last season in junior Ally Keirn and senior Kim Masterton, and had a promising group of incoming freshman.

Behind the strong play of Keirn and Masterton, the Lakers rallied off seven-straight victories after the opening loss. But the team hit a lull right in the middle of the year.

The seven-game streak was snapped with a 16-10 loss to West Chester followed by an 11-9 loss to Bloomsburg.

“This year has been tougher than most to get into a rhythm,” Pilson said. “We hit a funk in the middle of the year with West Chester and Bloomsburg.”

The Lakers rallied from the two losses with a commanding victory over East Stroudsburg, winning by nine goals. Still, the low-point of the season was yet to come.

The Lakers suffered their worst defeat of the year, a 17-1 pounding by Lock Haven.

“Lock Haven was an eye-opener for us,” Pilson said.

Senior defender Maggie Yackel agreed with her coach’s assessment, but feels the Lakers are coming into their own. After the Lock Haven loss, the Lakers finished the regular season at 3-1 despite a stinging double-overtime loss to Gannon.

“We feel like we are peaking at the right time. We feel like we can beat anyone,” Yackel said.

This season’s schedule has been different than in years past. This year, there is no East and West division. Every team played each other once throughout the year, meaning the conference tournament will be the second time the Lakers meet Bloomsburg, their first round opponent.

With teams only getting one crack at each other, it has amped up the competition level. Each team realizes they only have one shot to earn wins in conference.

“We feel like every year Bloomsburg is a very tough game. Whoever shows up that day will win,” Pilson added.

The Lakers need three victories to become PSAC champions. The teams that likely stand in their way: Bloomsburg, West Chester, and either Gannon or Lock Haven.

The Lakers have a shot at redemption, a theme they will be repeating the playoffs. Each team the Lakers will face beat them during the regular season. Bloomsburg was the first step.

“Redemption will be our mantra around here this week, with potentially three games against teams we lost to during the year,” said Pilson.

For the Lakers, the road to redemption began Tuesday at Bloomsburg. With a final score of 13-10, the Lakers achieved their first goal of this postseason.

The Lakers once again had a strong game from their stars, Keirn and Masterton. Keirn landed the first goal of the game five minutes into the game en route to a four-goal and three-assist game. Masterton added four assists, while sophomore Kayla Minner added three goals of her own.

The Lakers hope to continue their play-off run against top-seeded West Chester this Friday at 1 p.m. in West Chester.