The Adelphi-C.W. Post women's lacrosse rivalry seems to grow a bit more intense each season and yesterday's meeting was certainly no exception.
Top-ranked, undefeated, defending national champion Adelphi put a 32-game winning streak on the line as it hosted No. 2 Post. Adelphi had won 14 straight games this season by an average of 15 goals but Post had a stunning start, scoring the first five goals, held on when Adelphi rallied and captured a 21-16 victory.
Post did not go into celebration mode. The players are mindful of what will likely be a return match in a semifinal of the NCAA tournament in a few weeks. "The final victory is what really counts,'' said Brianne Jackolski, who led Post with four goals. "What counts is the national championship.''
The five goal start surprised even Post (15-1). "We were very excited,'' midfielder Nan Mayott said. "Very, very excited. We wanted to play our game and see what happens."
Her teammate, Ashley Olen, added, "We were going to come out twice as hard because we know they are going to want to beat us.''
Adelphi (14-1) had not been defeated since losing to Post in 2008. "They did a better job than us, we had a poor week of preparation,'' Adelphi coach Joe Spallina said. "They played an outstanding game.''
Adelphi midfielder Elizabeth Ray said, "We're our own worse enemy. We didn't play our best today. We can't wait to play them again, the rivalry is stronger than ever now.''
Adelphi erased the deficit by scoring five straight goals to pull even with 15 minutes left in the first half. "We're like this is our game," Adelphi attacker Erica Devito said. "We just pushed ourselves to get it back to 0-0 and then . . ."
Spallina thinks he knew what happened at 5-5. "We almost got comfortable,'' he said. "It's almost like we said 'Now we're okay,' and we just stopped. It's a tribute to [Post]. Even though we caught up I still think we were chasing those five goals throughout the game. We had wasted a lot of energy to get back to even. When you go down 5-0 in any game takes a lot to get back.''
The score was tied 8-8 at halftime and Adelphi even grabbed a two-goal lead when Kaitlyn Carter and Elizabeth Fay found the net about eight minutes into the second half.
But Post received goals from Michelle Fucich and Jackolski to tie, then Staci Passafiume put the ahead, 13-12, with 16:47 left and the Pioneers never trailed.
"You knew they had it in them,'' Post coach Meghan McNamara said of her players. "The team was prepared for Adelphi to fight back. I think it was great that we could turn it on when we needed to.''
Spallina promised to be ready for the next meeting, saying of his players, "They got a reality check from a good team. We'll be better, I can guarantee you we'll be better.''