A late rally by the Fresno State lacrosse team fell just short at home on Sunday in its Senior Day loss to the San Diego State Aztecs, 15-11.
The Bulldogs uncharacteristically fell behind to begin the match by allowing three goals within the first three minutes to the Aztecs’ Jill Haight, Elizabeth Rourke and Harlowe Steele. Haight’s score came on a free position shot from inside of the 8-meter circle.
The other two scores came as a result of the Aztecs dominating possession of the ball, consistently working behind the net to create passes to the front of the goal.
After a quick answer by Bulldogs senior attacker Nicole Ortlieb, the Aztecs piled on two more goals by Rourke, making the score 5-2 eight minutes into the game.
The Bulldogs missed several opportunities to score on 8-meter shots that resulted from fouls called on the Aztecs.
Bulldogs head coach Jessica Giglio said that her team falling behind was a combination of the Aztecs finishing their scoring opportunities and her team not.
“We have to finish the opportunities that we have and make some stops on defense,” Giglio said.
She added that she did not agree with some of the fouls that were called against her team but did not blame the loss on the referees.
Much of the rest of the first half was more of the same. The Bulldogs added goals by midfielder Mackenzie Wallevand, Hannah Krats and Kayla Galet but surrendered five more goals to the Aztecs during that period, two from Steele and one each from Bailey Brown, Taylor Sullivan and Kirstie Greenlaw. The Bulldogs trailed at halftime 10-4.
Coming out of halftime, the Bulldogs looked like a completely different team. The momentum of the match swung in the opposite direction. The possession of the ball that had been so thoroughly dominated by the Aztecs had been reversed to the benefit of the Bulldogs.
The home team took advantage by scoring seven of the first eight goals out of the break, two by Kayla Galet, two by Tiffiny Wallace and one each by Sarah Bloise, Marina Mayo and Ortlieb to bring the game to a deadlock at 11.
“I think in our huddle [at halftime] we just talked about it that we just needed to finish what we did. We were so close in the first half and as soon as we finished it, we were right back in this game,” Ortlieb said. “We knew we weren’t that far off because we had been in this position before and it wasn’t something to get down about, and we knew what we needed to do could just execute.”
But the Aztecs squelched all of the progress that Fresno State had made.
The Aztecs finished the match on a 4-0 run with goals by Greenlaw, Rourke, Brown and Isabelle Flud.
Despite the loss on Senior Day, Ortlieb still was positive after the game.
“It’s hard to get a loss on Senior Day but these teammates are the best and they made it the best Senior Day, that I could ask for, and it is good to know that we are not done yet,” Ortlieb said.
Giglio echoed Ortlieb’s sentiments.
“Obviously, the team always wants to honor the seniors because they have committed four years to the program, so that is big,” Giglio said, “but I know that we are all looking forward to finishing the season for them, and getting a championship ring is something that we all have our eyes set on.”
The ‘Dogs will finish their regular season on the road against UC Davis on April 21 and then will begin their quest to win a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship in San Diego on April 27 and 29.