ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. -- A long ride, a cold day, and a slow start combined to put Virginia Wesleyan College's women's lacrosse team in a challenging start in Saturday's season-opening game at St. Mary's College of Maryland.
But, little-by-little the Marlins found their footing and renewed focus in taking the game to the host Seahawaks, before falling 18-12 in the non-conference contest.
St. Mary's led 7-1 13 minutes into the competition, before VWC ignited a rally that put the Marlins back into contention. Senior Carla Williams (Magnolia, Del./Caesar Rodney) scored on a free position shot and senior Brooke Cabeceiras (Cambridge, Md./Cambridge-South Dorchester) and rookie Megan Schallock (Waukesha, Wis./Muwonago) followed with two goals each in a 4-1 VWC scoring run that pulled the Marlins within an 8-5 score by halftime.
Schallock's second goal in the run was the first goal of the second half, a free position score, that cut the St. Mary's lead to 8-6. But, the Hawks recovered to pull away with five straight goals, including three from Division I transfer Erika Kopf (Annapolis/Annapolis), to open up a 13-6 lead with 13 minutes remaining to be played.
Virginia Wesleyan continued to challenge and pulled within a 14-10 score on a goal from senior Candace Carey (Charlottesville/Albemarle), off an assist by sophomore Taylor Simon (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty), with 9:41 on the clock. But, St. Mary's scored three in a row to balloon its lead once more and held off the Marlins the rest of the way.
Schallock made her intercollegiate debut an impressive one as she set a VWC rookie record by recording a game-high eight draw control wins, also the fifth highest total in program history. She led VWC scoring with five goals and an assist, becoming only the seventh rookie in program history to score five or more goals in a game.
Cabeceiras, Williams, and Simon all scored two goals each for the Marlins, who trailed St. Mary's just 31-26 in total shots. VWC finished with a 17-13 advantage in draw control wins.
Junior goalie Madison Carroll (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) produced a game-high 11 saves, including six in the second half.
Tori Poffenberger (Sharpsburg, Md./Boonsboro) led St. Mary's with six goals.
Virginia Wesleyan plays again when it opens its home season on Saturday, Feb. 28, hosting North Carolina's Meredith College in a non-conference game beginning at 4 p.m.