BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Freshman Victoria McDonough's (Marshfield, Mass.) goal with 2:28 remaining in regulation lifted the Bridgewater State University women's lacrosse team to a dramatic 5-4 victory over visiting Westfield State University on Saturday night at Swenson Field as the host Bears captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season title.
The Bears improve to 11-6 on the season and wrap up the regular season with a perfect 7-0 MASCAC mark. Bridgewater has won nine conference regular season championships in the last ten years dating back to when the Bears were a member of the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA) from 2008 to 2012.
The visiting Owls fall to 11-5 overall and 6-1 in the MASCAC.
With the score tied at 4-4 and time winding down, BSU senior Melissa Renauld (Framingham, Mass.) drove to the net but her shot was turned away by Westfield senior goaltender Alanah Melanson (Chelmsford, Mass.). McDonough corralled the rebound and ripped a shot into the back of the net for the game-winning tally.
McDonough won the ensuing draw control and, following a quick timeout, the Bears held possession for the final 148 seconds to secure the win.
Senior goaltender Allie Forman (Marblehead, Mass.) was outstanding between the pipes for the Bears as she made 13 saves to record her ninth win of the season and school-record 39th of her career. Forman eclipsed the previous program mark of 38 wins set by Meghan Griffin in 2010.
Renauld and sophomore Elizabeth Ettridge (Marshfield, Mass.) notched two goals apiece to lead the BSU offense.
Ettridge potted both of her goals in the first half as the score was knotted at 3-3 heading into the break. Forman picked up her first career assist on the opening strike of the game as she sent in Ettridge for a breakaway goal with a long pass.
Renauld also scored for the Bears in the opening stanza, while sophomore Alexa Tonelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) found the back of the net twice for the Owls. Westfield also received a first-half goal from sophomore Lucy Barrett (Williamstown, Mass.).
The goalies combined for 13 saves in the first half with Forman turning aside six shots and sophomore Maria Woodall (Norfolk, Mass.) making seven stops.
Renauld gave the Bears a 4-3 lead just over ten minutes into the second half off an assist from junior Rebecca McGlone (Salem, Conn.). Freshman Sam Donahoe (Pepperell, Mass.) potted the equalizer for the Owls on a free position attempt with 11:34 remaining in the contest.
Bridgewater held a slight 21-20 shot advantage as well as a 6-4 edge in draw controls. Westfield finished with a 17-8 advantage in ground balls.
The Owls went 1-for-6 on free position attempts, while the Bears converted 1 of 2.
Melanson and Woodall each played a half in goal for the visitors. Melanson made five saves in 30 minutes of action as she suffered her first loss off the season.
Both team will have a first round bye in next week's MASCAC Tournament and will host semifinal round games on Thursday.