There’s a lot riding on these games for Jackie Jahelka and the rest of the seniors on the Adelphi women’s lacrosse team.
They’re playing out their final NCAA tournament and trying to show that last year’s loss in the national championship game is a fluke in what could end up being three titles in four years.
It’s safe to say they’re not wasting time after dismantling No. 4 New Haven 18-1 at Adelphi on Saturday. Jahelka opened the scoring, and the No. 1 Panthers posted eight goals in five minutes and 24 seconds.
“We’ve been trying to get out to a fast start, letting the other team know that we’re going to set the tone for the rest of the game,” said Jahelka, who had five goals and an assist.
There’s the thought lingering of last season’s final game and the chance to grab one more winning feeling. Kate Beier, who scored the third and fourth goals 23 seconds apart, hasn’t gotten away from last year’s ending.
“We definitely keep it in the back of our heads day-to-day,” Beier said. “We were on that team, and we know what it feels like to win so we want to get that feeling back this year.”
Adelphi (19-1) outshot New Haven 33-6 and allowed the opposition’s lone goal after running off to an 11-0 lead. Nobody wanted to give the Chargers any chance at a comeback. Jahelka opened the second-half scoring as well as Adelphi tacked on six more goals to the 12-1 lead. The message was simple.
“We’re going to dictate it from here,” Jahelka said.
The Panthers will head to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania for a Final Four matchup with LeMoyne on Friday. It’ll be the third time the sides meet this season, and the Dolphins are responsible for Adelphi’s only loss.
“We’ll be ready to go when that day comes and we’ll let the chips fall where they may,” coach Pat McCabe said. “It’s not something that we’re overwhelmed by. It’s just another game.”
But while this group of seniors has two national championships and a lot of experience, there are other players who haven’t won a title or are appearing in their first NCAA tournament.
“After the game against Le Moyne, they know what it feels like to lose and they don’t want that to happen again,” said Ryley Weber, who had nine draw controls. “We don’t have to tell them how important it is to win a national championship and go there. They know what it feels like to lose and they don’t want to do that again.”
For those who were there, the pain is enough.
“We try to let that motivate us and be the comeback team,” Jahelka said.