STEUBENVILLE, Ohio—What a difference a year makes. Lady Baron lacrosse played one of their best games of the year, staying competitive throughout a 19-13 loss to a team that beat them 24-4 just a season ago. Franciscan ending with 12 goals marks the second highest number of goals the team as scored this season and the team's settled defense stifled the Bearcat offense.
"That was the best I've seen our attack and the best I've seen our midfield transition all year," head coach Maura Conant said. "What this gives us is the ability to see our progression as we go. I'm so proud of these girls."
The team not only progressed from where they were last year but showed obvious improvements from the first half to the second half. After falling 10-5 in the first half, the Lady Baron's goalie, freshman Savannah Ruhe got into a zone, saving 16 second half shots.
"She's a shorter goalie and number 18 on SVC was super tall and would come and dump it over her head," Conant said. "We had to adjust to that and then she was great."
Ruhe's performance helped FUS to just a 9-7 second half deficit. Also helping with that effort was an energetic and efficient attack led by sophomore team captain Tracy McClelland.
McClelland's quickness from behind the cage was the Lady Baron's most dangerous scoring threat, finishing with five goals. The rest of the Franciscan scoring came primarily in transitioned and featured a slew of FUS players, including Megan Munson who scored her first career goal.
Conant said her's teams increased scoring was a result of better off-ball movement.
"It was just a team effort, it really was," Conant said. "The past few practices we've been talking about how the off-ball people need to be working the hardest I think that mindset is what helped us today."
The Lady Barons also played with a reckless abandon against a known tough opponent and that relaxed but aggressive attitude allowed FUS to play their best. Conant said the team needs to work having that attitude more often.
"I think in these situations you feel like you have nothing to lose and then you play like there's nothing to lose," Conant said. "When you play in more competitive games we don't play like that and that's something we're trying to change."
Another player who benefited from that mindset was sophomore midfielder Shannon Root who knifed through SVC defenders for two impressive transition goals. The two scores doubled Root's season scoring total and gave Franciscan an extra offensive threat.
Junior midfielder Jess Bestgen also scored two goals while leaving an impact on the defensive end with two caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Bestgen, Root and the rest of the Lady Barons will have three days of practice and a few days of rest to prepare for a road match against Walsh College on April 8 at 7 p.m.