On a frigid, snowy Saturday afternoon, the Mason women’s lacrosse team opened their season at home with an impressive 19–9 victory over the Saint Francis University Red Flash.

The Patriots were led by a balanced offensive attack that saw three different players score four or more goals.

“We’ve worked a lot with our attack,” said head coach Lauren Hay.

by Stephen Kline

“Coach [Jaclyn] O’Leary has the attack, and we’ve really worked in the off-season as far as having a balanced attack, and we really feel like the girls showcased that today, so we’re excited about that. It’s not just one person. We have that balanced attack, and everyone is going to be a threat for us.”

Mason opened the game with a 3–0 lead that began with junior midfielder Caitlin Formato scoring the first of her five goals, followed by scores from seniors Emily Ellisen and Mary Schwartz who each scored four on the day, with Schwartz also contributing two assists.

SFU’s first goal was quickly answered by a 4-0 Patriots run that saw Formato, Ellisen and Schwartz each add their second scores, while sophomore attacker Katie Mascolo scored her first of two, off of an assist from junior midfielder Allie Hilderbrandt.

The Red Flash were able to keep things a bit closer toward the latter part of the first half, giving up six goals, but scoring three of their own.

The two teams went into halftime with Mason leading 13–5.

SFU came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, scoring two consecutive goals and stopping three consecutive Patriots’ shots.

But the possibility of a comeback for the Red Flash came to a halt when sophomore Rachel Obregon found Schwartz for her third score of the game.

Midway through the second half, heavy snow and wind began to pick up, but it didn’t phase the Patriots, who went on another 4–0 run to bring the score to 18–7.

“It’s something that’s going to happen when you’re an outside sport, but we still had to make sure that we maintain possession, and I thought we did a better job with that,” Hay said.

Formato capped off the game for the Patriots with her fifth tally.

­­Mason proved they had scoring threats all over the field with nine different players registering points.

“It was awesome that a whole variety of people on our attack scored,” Formato. “I never hesitate to pass the ball to anyone. Everyone is equally as powerful on attack, so it’s awesome to have that balance.”

The Patriots’ monstrous offensive output can be largely attributed to their dominance in the middle of the field.

They controlled 21 of 30 draws and scored on several fast breaks, which is something they focused on in the off-season.

“We worked on that a lot, and going into the future, it’s just being aggressive on our draw controls and making sure that that first possession is huge for us,” Hay said.

“We worked a lot on getting that immediate possession to be able to get it into our attackers’ hands.”

Mason also played stoutly on defense, allowing only 17 shots and causing seven turnovers. Senior defender Kiersten Jauschnegg led the way with four caused turnovers.

The women look to build on this win on Saturday at 1 p.m., against Johns Hopkins at George Mason Stadium, as they continue their six-game season opening home stand.