BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The Bridgewater Eagles women's lacrosse team held the league's top offense to six goals under its season-scoring average and freshman Rachel Gruber was stellar in the cage, recording a career-high 19 saves, but the visiting Guilford Quakers used a pair of three-goal runs throughout the game to pull away to a 12-7 victory over the Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
Guilford entered the game averaging 18.56 goals per game, which leads the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and puts the Quakers in third in the nation at the Division III level. On the day, Bridgewater limited the Quakers to just a dozen goals which is the lowest scoring output for Guilford this season with its previous low coming in a 15-10 victory over Roanoke.
The Quakers got the scoring started just over two minutes into the contest when Lily Colley scored the first of her five goals to put Guilford out in front, 1-0.
Five minutes later, sophomore Jesse Colligan registered her first goal of the day on a free-position shot to knot the contest up at a 1-1 tally with 22:39 to play in the first.
After the Colligan goal, Colley added back-to-back goals before Eleanora Keene took a pass from E'Leyna Garcia and found the back of the net to extend the Guilford lead to 4-1 midway through the opening half of play.
Both teams traded goals over the final 15 minutes of the first as Guilford took a 6-3 lead into the intermission. Caroline Fletcher tallied the first of her three goals with 13:17 to play in the opening frame, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Guilford's Becca Colley scored with under eight minutes to go in the first stanza before Colligan tallied her 23rd goal of the season with 2:13 remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 5-3. Garcia rounded out the scoring with 56 ticks to play in the first with an unassisted goal to send the Quakers to the break with a three-goal lead.
Out of the halftime break the Quakers tallied the first two goals of the second half to build an 8-3 advantage as Colley tallied her final goals of a five-goal afternoon to extend the Bridgewater deficit to five.
With 25:49 to play, Fletcher fired a shot into the back of the net off of a pass from Claire Palermo-Re to chip the Guilford lead to 8-4.
Guilford answered with a Demming Carlow goal before Fletcher added her third and final goal of the day to cut the margin back to four at a 9-5 tally. Fletcher's third goal of the day moved her into the lead for the Eagles with 24 goals on the year.
The Quakers responded and effectively put the game away with three unanswered goals to take a 12-5 lead with 8:51 to play.
Senior Katie Freeman got in on the scoring with 5:26 remaining off of a Palermo-Re helper prior to Palermo-Re scoring off of a free-position attempt with less than three minutes to play to finalize the scoring at a 12-7 margin.
Fletcher led the Eagles with three goals while Palermo-Re added three points off of a one-goal, two-assist afternoon.
Gruber was brilliant between the pipes rejecting a career-high 19 Guilford shots along the way. Her 19 saves marks the highest total for a Bridgewater College women's lacrosse player since Colleen Schwind's 20-save effort against Roanoke in 2009.
Guilford was led by Colley's five-goal outing as the Quakers outshot Bridgewater by a 40-29 margin. Garcia, who leads the ODAC and ranks 10th nationally in goals, was limited to just a pair of goals against a solid Bridgewater defense. The two-goal effort from Garcia matches her season-low.
Freshman Sammi Milbourn made a dozen saves to pick up the win.
Bridgewater returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Randolph. Start time against the WildCats is set for 7 p.m.