NEW LONDON, Conn.-- For most teams, there are growing pains associated with heavy graduation losses. So it was for a young Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team in its 2019 season-opener Saturday against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at Cadet Memorial Field.
In only its fifth varsity season, Coast Guard scored on its first four shots to take a 4-0 lead 11 minutes into play and coasted to a 14-3 non-conference victory for its second victory over Eastern in as many seasons after the Warriors had captured the first three in the series.
With eight losses from the starting lineup in last year's season-finale in the Little East Conference championship game, Eastern featured six of 11 field players making their Eastern starting debuts Saturday, with two of the remaining five appearing in the starting lineup for onlly the second times in their careers.
Coming off its first winning season last year, Coast Guard got four goals from freshman Maddie Rizzuto in her first collegiate game, built a 9-1 lead by halftime, and eased to its opening victory.
While Coast Guard was connecting on its first four shots, Eastern turned the ball over on seven of its first ten possessions, with CGA goalie Mary Budri making saves on two of Eastern three shots in that stretch.
Rizzuto also added three assists, with four ground balls and three caused turnovers. Seniors Carter Sanderson, and Annie McGoldrick, and sophomore Etta Davis all added two goals each. Junior MegMarie Stanchi had a game-high five caused turnovers with three ground balls.
Returning LEC Rookie-of-the-Year Tristan Kijak (Windsor) had a goal and an assist, and junior attack Madison Renaud (Somers) and first-year sophomore attack Sydney Hogan (Northford), who averaged two goals a game at Division II Post University last year, one goal each. Freshman Gabby Abramczyk (Bristol) had an assist off the bench for her first collegiate point. Kijak also added team-highs with four ground balls and four caused turnovers, with junior midfielder Stacey Brodeur (East Lyme) picking up four ground balls.
Eastern played without All-LEC attack Alyssa Powers (Ellington), the team's second-returning scorer.
Owing mostly to 29 turnovers, Eastern was credited with only 12 shots, with the Bears firing off 31. Eastern sophomore Sarah Farag (Holmdel, NJ) stopped seven shots in working the second half in net, allowing five goals.
Eastern visits Springfieldl College in a non-conference match Thursday at 4 p.m.