GLASSBORO, N.J. – The Ursinus College women's lacrosse team hung tough at Rowan on Wednesday, but a pair of quick goals in the closing seconds of the first half short-circuited the Bears' efforts and left them chasing throughout a 12-7 non-conference setback in their road opener.
Junior Franny Liberatoscioli and sophomore Emily DiGiorgio each recorded hat tricks for Ursinus (2-1), which suffered its first loss of the season. For the second straight season, Rowan prevented the Bears from a 3-0 start that would have been their first since 2007.
Rachel Hofbauer had four goals and Taylor Gretz added three more for the Profs (1-0), including one with one second left in the first half that gave the home side enough separation to keep the Bears at arm's length throughout the second stanza.
After waiting out a brief weather delay, Ursinus got off to a quick lead when Liberatoscioli found the back of the net on a feed from Sherry about two and a half minutes in. Rachel Hofbauer netted an equalizer, the first of her three first-half goals, but DiGiorgio's unassisted tally made it 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
The Profs took over from there, with Maddie Bray sandwiching two markers around a pair by Hofbauer to ring up a 5-2 lead at the 16:53 mark. Hofbauer's consecutive strikes, the second on a free-position shot, were separated by only 11 seconds, and Bray's second came just 41 ticks after that.
Liberatoscioli stopped the Rowan run with a free-position goal following a yellow card, and DiGiorgio answered Gretz's man-up tally with one of her own to close the gap to 6-4 with 6:26 to go in the first frame. The Profs, however, struck twice in the last 20 seconds of the half, the last with one tick showing on the clock, to expand their lead to 8-4 at the break.
Rowan tacked on two more goals before senior Amy Kohout produced her second goal of the season, weaving her way through multiple defenders in the circle and firing off a top-shelf shot past Erin Horner to put the Bears on the board at the 15:14 mark of the second half. The momentum did not last, as Ali Herbert won the ensuing draw and took it all the way for a goal only 10 seconds later to put the Profs up 11-5.
Hofbauer's fourth goal, a free-position blast, extended the margin to seven with 9:45 remaining. Less than a minute later, Liberatoscioli sealed her own hat-trick with a brilliant defensive play, deflecting Horner's attempted clearing pass before scooping up the loose ball and slinging a low shot into the right corner of the cage. Liberatoscioli's hat-trick was the third of her career and gave her three consecutive multi-goal performances to open the season.
Ursinus was unable to mount a serious rally, but DiGiorgio did manage to polish off her second hat-trick of the year with a free-position goal with 1:34 to play.
Sherry accrued four ground balls and three caused turnovers for Ursinus, with Liberatoscioli grabbing four grounders and forcing a pair of Rowan miscues. Liberatoscioli, Kohout, and senior Lisa Grous each had two draw controls.
The Profs held a 21-16 advantage in shots and controlled 13 draws to the Bears' seven. Horner finished with six saves to earn the victory, while sophomore Kaitlyn France (first half) and junior Meaghan Corbin (second half) each had one for Ursinus.
The women's lacrosse team goes west for a pair of contests over spring break, first at Colorado College on Monday, March 6. The Bears take on Emerson on Thursday, March 9.