BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – After what started initially as a close game, the goals started coming for Massachusetts Maritime Academy's women lacrosse team and soon, too, did the snow. Despite the elements, the Buccaneer ladies looked red-hot, trampling over Bay Path University, 18-3. Senior Stephanie Hunt had an astonishing 10 points in the game, while first-year Anna Deely continued to turn heads with six goals.
Bay Path opened the scoring only 45 seconds into the game after MMA won the first face-off and fired two shots. A series of turnovers marked the next series of possessions, but Casey Sullivan equalized at 27:50 on a Stephanie Hunt assist. Only 1:43 later, Sullivan bagged another goal to make it 2-1.
The Wildcats immediately threatened, drawing a free possession shot, but Samantha Rubacha fired wide. Bay Path took it back immediately after forcing a turnover, and Kaylee Herring fired two more at Maritime keeper Mikayla Correia, with Rubacha adding her own attempt, but all four were denied.
The Bucs finally got the ball back and Cammi Balentine dished off a nice feed to Hunt, who slammed it home for the 3-1 lead. The Blue-and-Gold won the face-off on a display of impressive athleticism by Anna Deely, who immediately raced straight down the center of the field and, with minimal fanfare, fired a rocket past Taryn Karol-Chik. Deely's first marker took only nine seconds.
From that point, it was all Mass Maritime, as BPU looked totally overwhelmed by both the Buccaneers and the heavy flurries. In the next 13 minutes, the hosts scored eight goals on nine shots while the Wildcats got off only one shot, as Herring scored on a free possession shot. The Bucs entered half-time with a 13-2 lead and the snow piling up.
The second half started slowly, with a series of turnovers between the tired 'Cats and a Maritime team full of first-years, including the reserves.
Just over five minutes in, Herring gave the visitors a breather with a goal off a Buccaneer turnover, but it was all Maritime from that point. Before the game was called with 11:30 left in the second half due to snow, five more women had scored as almost everyone got on the scoresheet. The 18-3 final replicated last season's biggest score and margin of victory, and the women's lacrosse team has not scored more since April 2, 2016 (a 20-3 win). Correia improved to 3-2 after stopping three of six attempts on target.
"We were able to use a lot of subs this time. We got input from all of our 15 players," explained Head Coach Marc Palombo. "We are using these games to prepare for our conference games and trying everything in our arsenal to make sure that we can compete when we're meeting the toughest part of our schedule."
Once more, it was Hunt and Deely who impressed. Hunt, a senior, had an incredible four goals and six assists to put her within four points of 200 in her career. The attacker/midfielder has 16 goals and 14 assists in five games this year. Hunt added six groundball pickups as well.
On the other hand, Deely, only in her first season, has turned into a true playmaker. The Marstons Mills native found the net six times, the best total by any Buc this season, adding two assists. She shot nine times, missing the target only once, and also picked up five groundballs. In addition, Deely won 13-of-15 faceoffs and did not turn the ball over once.
The scoresheet was a balanced one, as eight players beat the keeper. Casey Sullivan and Megan Petruzziello both had a brace of goals, while the former collected two assists, three groundballs, and no turnovers.
"We are getting great input from Casey Sullivan. Anna Deely killed it today. She looked very strong. We got two goals from Meghan Petruzziello as well," observed Palombo. "A lot of people stepped up, especially the younger kids. There has been a boost in confidence from our freshman. They are definitely gaining confidence in these last two victories. They're not afraid to win, they know they can do it."
"We saw that at SUNY-Maritime…that cutting and working from behind worked. We've learned how helpful [movement of the ball] can be, added the team's coach. "We are just trying to get down some basics and some fundamentals that we will need."
The women now begin a tough part of their schedule, playing the next four games on the road, including three in a five-day span in the upcoming week. First up is Becker (0-3) on Tuesday, while the non-conference early season comes to an end at Wentworth (1-4) on Thursday. MASCAC play begins on Saturday against Salem State (0-4).
"Becker will be a better team than [we have seen in the last couple games]. We beat them handily last year, but it will be another good test of what we're made of going into the next two games after that," concluded Palombo. "Wentworth will definitely be a challenge as we haven't beaten them in the last two years. We would like to pick off Salem State if we can. We want to use the next two game as building blocks for our first league game."
The women return home on April 10 in the final non-conference game versus Dean College at 7 p.m.
In the meantime, stay tuned to www.mmabucs.com for all the latest.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate