The Central Connecticut women's lacrosse team earned a 12-9 victory over Saint Francis U in Friday's Northeast Conference opener. With her second goal of the game senior Betsy Vendel passed Tracey Uellendahl for the top spot on the program's career points list. Vendel now has a school record 186 career points.
The victory improves the Blue Devils to 2-5 on the season and 1-0 in NEC play. This is the second straight year that the Blue Devils have started conference play with a victory. Saint Francis falls to 3-5 and 0-1 with the loss.
Vendel, freshmen Elyse Malecki and Madison Hughes all registered hat-tricks to lead the Blue Devil offense in the game. The trio of players all scored two of their goals in the second period as CCSU pulled away from the Red Flash after halftime.
The Blue Devils broke the 5-5 halftime tie with a pair of early scores in the second period. Hughes found the net 27 seconds into the period to break the tie and with 27:16 left to play senior Mackenzy Ryan scored to give CCSU a 7-5 advantage.
Two straight goals by SFU tied the game at 7-7, but Central quickly answered with a go-ahead free position goal by freshman Elyse Malecki. Malecki's second goal of the game gave CCSU an 8-7 lead with 15:44 left to play.
The Red Flash were again able to quickly tie the score, but CCSU also had another answer as Vendel found the back of the net for an unassisted score. Vendel's goal gave CCSU a 9-8 lead and it was also the 185th point of her career. The score moved Vendel ahead of Tracey Uellendahl for the program's career record.
A moment later Hughes would notch her third goal of the game and extend the Blue Devils' lead to 10-8 with 12:06 left to play.
Malecki would pick up her hat-trick with CCSU's 11th goal of the game, it came with 7:23 left to play. Freshman Falynn McCartney recorded her first career assist on the goal.
McCartney would pick up her second career assist less than two minutes later as she passed to Vendel for CCSU's 12th goal of the game.
Junior Claire Healy got the Blue Devils on the board with a free position goal just over five minutes into the game. Healy's goal tied the game at 1-1.
CCSU tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Vendel 11 minutes into the period. Ryan assisted on the goal, which tied Vendel and Uellendahl for the program record. The Blue Devils took their first lead five minutes later on a free position goal by sophomore Jessica Sudock.
Saint Francis tied the game at 3-3, before goals by Malecki and Hughes gave CCSU a 5-3 lead. The Red Flash were able to tie the game before the half with two goals in the final three minutes of play.
McCartney registered the first two assists of her career and also picked up a ground ball and caused a turnover.
The Blue Devil defense caused 15 turnovers in the game led by five from sophomore Andrea Tarsi, while senior Ali Roche, senior Cierra Ward and junior Ashley Olhausen each contributed two caused turnovers. Tarsi also recorded a team-high six ground balls in the game. Olhausen was close behind her with four ground balls and as a team CCSU picked up 19.
Sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Tullar recorded four saves in the game and earned her second victory of the season.
The Red Flash were led by a five-goal performance from Christina Fini.
Vendel's third goal of the game was also the 100th of her career. She becomes the fourth Blue Devil to reach triple-digit goals. Tracey Uellendahl (150) holds the school record, senior Meaghan McCurry is currently second (103) and Michelle Conway (100) is also in the club. Ryan, who registered a goal and assist in today's game, has 95 career goals and is close to joining the group.
"I'm honored to have achieved this record, but I know that none of this would be possible without the hard work and commitment from my teammates and coaches," Vendel said after the game.
The Blue Devils return to action on Sunday at Robert Morris. The game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start in Moon Township, PA.