Women's Lacrosse Battles No. 8 Washington and Lee in Season Opener

Lane Lambeth
Lane Lambeth

LEXINGTON, Va. – The No. 6 Franklin & Marshall women's lacrosse team opened its 2023 season and its slate of numerous nationally-ranked opponents with a trip to No. 8 Washington and Lee on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Diplomats, it was the Generals who got off to a quick start and could not be caught in the 15-8 final. The 2023 opener was a rematch of last year's season opener.

If there is a silver lining to Sunday's opener, the Diplomats also dropped a game to nationally-ranked W&L during the 2022 opener before running off 12 straight victories following that early defeat.

Lydia Cassilly and Lane Lambeth both scored a pair of goals for the Diplomats, while Sydney Lowe and Lauren Pittman finished with a goal and assist each. Maddy Birch and Sarah Bowyer also rattled the back of the cage during the season opener down in Virginia.

A team captain, Birch opened the scoring just under two minutes into the 2023 season with her unassisted tally. The Diplomats looked to be keeping pace with the Washington and Lee attack early as Lane Lambeth took a feed from Cassilly to tie the score at two-all just over six minutes into the contest. However, the Generals scored four straight to close the opening quarter and would hold F&M off the scoreboard for over 20 minutes before Bowyer broke that scoring drought with three minutes to go before the half.

Trailing 7-3 after 30 minutes, the Diplomats scored five times during the second half, but could not slow down the Generals offense in the 15-8 final. The Diplomats did finish the contest with a 24-22 advantage in total shots, but W&L maintained a very efficient attack throughout the afternoon and was bolstered by 11 saves from goalie Caroline Kranich. Helping that offensive efficiency was a perfect 6-for-6 afternoon from W&L on free-position shots. F&M held a 19-14 advantage in ground balls, while the Generals had the 14-12 edge in draw controls.

Belle Dintino and Lambeth each had three caused turnovers and three ground balls on the afternoon. Reigning national defensive player of the year Mary Pat McKenna headlined the defensive efforts with four caused turnovers.

Women's lacrosse will now have just over a week to prepare for the team's home opener when the Diplomats welcome No. 16 Messiah to Shadek Stadium on Wednesday, March 1. That game is set for a 4 p.m. opening draw in Lancaster.