Mustangs Down No. 14 Messiah, Move to First Place in the Commonwealth

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Stevenson women's lacrosse junior Marissa Meiklejohn (Severn, Md./Old Mill) totaled five points on four goals and one assist while sophomore Leanne Bittner (Baltimore, Md./Loch Raven) had 12 saves as the Mustangs won their 12th-straight with a 13-8 victory over No. 14 Messiah Wednesday at Mustang Stadium.

With the win, the Mustangs (12-11, 5-0 MAC) moved into in sole possession of first place in the Commonwealth Conference with three games to play.

Wednesday also marked the fourth consecutive season in which Stevenson has beaten a ranked opponent. A year ago, Stevenson won 15-19 at No. 19 Dickinson on Mar 2, 2012 after beating No. 18 Mary Washington on Apr. 2, 2011.

The Mustangs defeated their highest-ranked opponent in school history on Mar. 20, 2010 when they beat No. 7 Catholic on the road, 18-13.

The Falcons (7-6, 4-1 MAC) got off to a fast start, scoring the game's first three goals in a span of just 5:26 to take a 3-0 lead.

After a goal by junior Mandy Marston (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) at 23:03 got the Mustangs on the board, Messiah added another at 19:05 to push its lead back to three.

However, Stevenson outscored the Falcons 12-4 the rest of the game, including 7-0 over the next 18:42 to take an 8-4 advantage with 26:29 remaining in the second half. Sophomore Kathryn Merrick (Forest Hill, Md./Bel Air) and junior Leah Warner (Pasadena, Md./Northeast) each scored twice during the run before Gabrielle Hamelryck scored her second of the game for Messiah, ending the team's stretch of 23:22 without a goal.

The Mustangs answered with three-straight goals from Meiklejohn, Warner and freshman Kellie McLaughlin (Frederick, Md./Frederick) to take their largest lead of the contest at six, 11-5 with 22:56 to play.

The Falcons' six-goal deficit was their third-largest of the season behind the 14-0 margin they faced versus No. 1 Salisbury on April 5 and their 15-7 deficit against No. 6 College of the New Jersey on March 9.

Six of Stevenson's 13 goals came on free-position shots where the team was 6-for-9, tying a season-high. The Mustangs also scored on six free position shots in a 21-12 victory over Elizabethtown on April 10. Meiklejohn was 4-for-4 on free position shots against Messiah.

Warner finished with two goals and two assists while Marston scored three goals. Bittner's 12 saves were just one shy of her career-high set in a 16-7 win at Albright last Saturday and a 15-3 victory at Roanoke on March 2. She also had three caused turnovers.

Cecilia Kjellman and Lizzy Keeney each had three points for the Falcons while Megan Beardsley had five saves over the final 17 minutes after relieving starter Taylor Phillips who had just three in 42:48.

Stevenson hosts Widener in a Commonwealth Conference contest this Saturday at Mustang Stadium on Senior Day. Game time is at 1:00 p.m.