VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – On a rainy and cold afternoon in Virginia Beach, the Bridgewater Eagles women's lacrosse team scored the first five goals of the game but couldn't hold off the host Marlins of Virginia Wesleyan in an 11-7 loss in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action.
Virginia Wesleyan (4-5, 2-2 ODAC) had the first crack at the goal early in regulation but a Carla Williams shot was turned away by Rachel Gruber to keep the game scoreless.
Bridgewater cleared the ball into the offensive end and quickly got on the board when Jesse Colligan fired a pass to Meredith Wimbrow and the freshman stroked a shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 Bridgewater lead.
The Eagles stayed on the attack and added an insurance goal with 26:11 to play in the first when Colligan got on the scoreboard with an unassisted tally to extend the lead to 2-0.
Following the Colligan tally, Virginia Wesleyan peppered the Bridgewater cage with shot after shot, rattling five balls at the goal. Gruber stoned all five shots during a five-minute stretch to keep the Eagles up by a pair of goals with 21 and change remaining in the first.
Senior Katie Freeman put the Eagles up by three with an unassisted goal before adding another goal with 19 minutes to play in the opening stanza to push Bridgewater out to a 4-0 advantage.
Both teams struggled to maintain possession over the next four minutes until a Virginia Wesleyan foul handed the Eagles a free-position attempt. Freshman Clarie Palermo-Re made the Marlins pay with a free-position goal to run the lead to 5-0 with 14:26 to play in half number one.
After the Bridgewater goal, Virginia Wesleyan scored the final four goals of the opening half to trim the Eagles' lead to one, 5-4, at the break.
Out of the intermission, the Marlins stayed on the attack. With 28 minutes to play in the contest, Natalie Furey scored off of a pass from Stacey Sank to tie the game up at five goals apiece.
Virginia Wesleyan kept the pressure on the Eagles, scoring four unanswered goals, to take a 9-5 lead with 17:53 to play.
Possession woes again plagued both teams before Bridgewater ended the Virginia Wesleyan run with a goal off of a free position. Sophomore Caroline Fletcher scored her 17th goal of the season off of a free-position shot to trim the deficit to 9-6, but the Eagles weren't finished.
Bridgewater (4-6, 1-2 ODAC) controlled the ensuing draw and junior Brittany Lanahan quickly cut the margin to 9-7 with a goal off of a helper from Palmero-Re. The goal for Lanahan was her seventh of the year.
Despite cutting the deficit back to a manageable two goals, the Marlins rattled off two more goals to take control of the remainder of the contest, sending Bridgewater home with a tough 11-7 loss.
Freeman's two-goal game led the way for the Eagles offense while the senior was joined by two other players with multiple points.
Fletcher led the Eagles with four ground balls and three draw controls. Defensively, Caroline Augsburger led the way with two caused turnovers.
Gruber tallied a career-high 17 saves in the loss.
Virginia Wesleyan was led by four-goal games from Sank and Brooke Cabeceiras as the Marlins outshot Bridgewater by a 40-17 margin.
Marlins goalkeeper Madison Carroll picked up the win between the pipes, recording seven saves on the day.
Bridgewater returns to action on Sunday at home against Randolph-Macon. Start time is set for 1 p.m.