Women's Lacrosse scores comeback victory over Millsaps in season opener, 16-15

Amanda Amerson (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Amanda Amerson (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

JACKSON, Miss.—Clawing back from an early 7-1 deficit, the Birmingham-Southern women's lacrosse team opened the 2014 season, and conference schedule, with a 16-15 victory over Millsaps College Saturday afternoon at Harper Davis Field in Jackson, Miss.

The Majors opened the contest with three straight goals to claim a 3-0 lead with over 24 minutes remaining in the half. An unassisted goal from sophomore Amanda Amerson put the Panthers on the board with 19:58 left in the half.

Millsaps stretched the lead to 7-1 by the 9:25 mark, and then 9-2 at the 6:23 mark of the first half, their largest lead of the game. The Panthers closed the half on a 6-2 run, including four straight goals to cut the Millsaps lead to 9-6 with 2:54 left in the half. The Majors tallied two more before an unassisted goal from freshman Hannah Hudson and free position goal from sophomore Taylor Bates closed the half's scoring and brought the Panthers to within 3, 11-8.

A pair of Major goals pushed the lead to 13-8 to open the half before the Panthers ripped off four straight to pull within one with 15:57 remaining in the match. Senior Madeline Golden started the run with two straight goals. Her scores were followed by another goal from Amerson off a feed from sophomore Anna Berry. Golden then took a pass from Amerson and found the back of the net to get the score to 13-12. Millsaps pushed the lead back to three with two final goals to hold the 15-12 advantage with 12:05 remaining.

Freshman keeper Caitlyn Dryer earned six of her 14 saves in the final twelve minutes as she and the Panther defense kept the Majors off the scoreboard for the rest of the contest. With the Panthers rising up on defense, the offense was able to mount an offensive onslaught that led to the Panther comeback victory. For the second time in the half, Amerson found Golden to bring the score to 15-13. Amerson, then Golden, each scored their own unassisted goals to even the match at 15. With 3:08 remaining and BSC enjoying a man-up advantage, Amerson netted the go-ahead and game-winning goal.

Golden and Amerson each scored a game-high six goals with Amerson also having a game-high three assists. Sophomore Shana O'Brien helped lead the defensive effort by forcing five Major turnovers.

Both teams corralled 36 ground balls each, while BSC took 36 shots compared to 32 for the Majors and also committed three fewer turnovers than Millsaps, 9-6.

The Panthers will host Centre College next Saturday, February 22, at 1 p.m. on Battle Field at Panther Stadium.