Lacrosse head coach Lindsay Delaney said she’d take how her team fared in the second half versus Salisbury University any time.
The group’s first-half play, which dropped them into a nine-goal pit? Not so much.
The Rowan women’s lacrosse team struggled early against No. 11 ranked Salisbury, eventually losing, 16-6, at home on Wednesday afternoon.
“We want to be prepping ourselves to be the best in the country. And the only way you do that is to play the best in the country,” Delaney said. “That’s what Salisbury is.”
The Seagulls (3-2) got all they wanted and more on offense through the first frame. After a quick chance on net for Rowan fell apart, Salisbury took control from there, scoring five times over the opening nine minutes. Five different players reached net in that span, four of whom would tally multi-goal games.
Everything was clicking for the visitors: working behind the Rowan net, drop-and-go passes, quick underhand passes to break pressure and open up space.
“We’ve been practicing against a strong attack every day, so I think we try to put ourselves into a mindset that’s it not about who we’re playing. But it was definitely a wake-up call,” said senior attack Megan Donnelly, who recorded the first goal for Rowan (1-2) and had two in total.
Put into a tough spot on the scoreboard – including trailing 2-8 just 20 minutes into the action – Rowan was forced to change its attacking scheme from working possession to pushing, according to Delaney.
The Profs chances, while there, never seemed to crack the Salisbury defense. Delaney noted “nothing was going forward,” that her team would fade on shots and hope for the foul rather than drive toward the net.
Aggressiveness was needed, especially for a Rowan unit down three starters on offense and facing a team averaging 11 or more goals for the second straight contest.
“You accept the challenge when you come to play here at Rowan; you accept that you’re playing the best and you better prepare to be one of the best,” Delaney said. “That’s what we said to them at halftime, play there or just get off the field, because right now we’re just folding. And I think they played much better in the second half.”
A flip did switch for the brown and gold after entering the break trailing 2-11.
The defense tightened and limited the number of shots. At the opposite end of the field, the Profs shots and shots-on-goal breakdown (9 and 7, respectively) didn’t change from the opening frame but their number of goals scored by period doubled.
Although Salisbury’s early advantage proved too much to overcome, Rowan still showed a stronger presence in the last 30 minutes.
“And it was just them making the choice to do that,” Delaney said. “That’s what they need to realize: they can make that choice and they can do what they did [in the second half]. Now going into the next game, you just have to do that for two halves.”
The Profs will look to get back on track when they play Western New England University in Clermont, Florida, on March 14.
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