The Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Lacrosse Team opened the 2019 campaign with high hopes following a SAC regular season championship last spring, and the Bears have started on the right foot with a 16-13 road victory over Belmont Abbey on Friday afternoon.
Lenoir-Rhyne's Rachel Elmore (White Plains, Md.) led the Bears with five goals, including a hat trick in the first half. A combination of eight others scored for the road team and Cathleen Gaffney, Adriana Williams and Gabby Sousa each had two, but Belmont Abbey outshot the Bears, 31-29, in the game.
Belmont Abbey held the advantage in groundballs (21-7) and committed turnovers (19-21) but the Bears were much better offensively on the day.
Cristi Rowland and Teanna Sieben split time in goal for Lenoir-Rhyne, with Rowland being credited with the first win of the season. Sieben picked up nine of the 14 saves for the Bears as the Crusaders pushed their attack in attempt to make a comeback in the second half.
Belmont Abbey was led by Kylie Eastman who led all scorers with eight goals and six ground balls on the afternoon.
The Crusaders split time at goalie with Annie Brannon and Elizabeth O'Ha with Brannon taking the Loss in the season opener.
The Bears took this one as payback for the heartbreaking 12-11 loss to Belmont Abbey to open the season in 2018.
This is Lenoir-Rhyne's first season-opening win since 2014 when the Bears took down St. Andrews 19-2 on February 16 in Laurinburg, N.C.
Lenoir-Rhyne opens the season 1-0 and begins a four game home stand on Friday, Feb. 15 with the Florida Tech Panthers coming to town. The game is set to begin between the bricks at 4 p.m.