Gutowski scores twice in loss

The Wilmington College women's lacrosse team got some much needed game experience in their inaugural game Wednesday at Williams Stadium. Although game conditions weren't ideal with the slight freezing sleet and cold wind, the Lady Quakers have many positives to build upon after the 23-5 opening-day loss.

"We need a lot more defensive understanding and that is only achieved from game-day experiences that can't be fabricated in training," said head coach Brett Yenger. "We got called for several obstruction of free space to goal fouls, but I think the players now have a better sense of how the game is played and at what speed. We have a lot to work on, but we learned a lot just from the experience of playing a game."

Alma came out of the gates attacking Wilmington's goal and drew several obstruction of free space to goal fouls resulting in four straight unanswered goals in the first eight minutes.

It wasn't until 10:13 in to the first half that Wilmington broke free and scored its first goal in program history. Rachel Gutowski (Petoskey, MI/Petosky) took matters into her own hands bringing the ball out of Wilmington's defensive end and finished strong in Alma's eight-meter arc. Sammy Koerner (Fairfield, OH/Hamilton Badin) took advantage 32 seconds later, trimming Alma's lead to 5-2. Sarah Watters (Cincinnati, OH/Turpin) took a pass from Gutowski and beat the Scots' goalie for the third first-half goal one minute before halftime.

The remainder of the first half brought about numerous converted opportunities by Alma which ended with the visitors having a commanding 16-3 lead.

Alma took the a 23-3 deep in to the second half before Gutowski scored for the second time and Emelie Fulkunger (Kristianstad, Dweden/Osterang Gymnasiet) added free position goals at the end of the game to bring the final tally to a 23-5 decision to Alma.

For fans new to women's lacrosse, the obstruction of free space to goal is one of the more frequent calls against a defense as well as the three second rule of a defender occupying the eight-meter arc without marking an opponent which results with a free position/eight-meter shot which usually goes uncontested once the referee restarts play.

Yenger felt satisfied with the attack's nose for the goal on offense with hard drives and accurate shooting when opportunities presented themselves. Wilmington scored five goals on 16 shots. She was also satisfied with the following of the direct offensive game plan.

"We caused and won a lot of turnovers in the midfield and the attack worked well as a unit," said the first-year head coach.

Watters and Gutowski were standout performers for the Lady Quakers. Watters did well on winning draw control and helped organize the offense as Gutowski was an all-around player. She also contributed a significant effort in the midfield, winning many ground balls and intercepting Alma's clears through the midfield.

On the defensive end, Karalyne Brown (Somerset, NJ/Franklin) performed valiantly after her first time ever on a lacrosse field and ended the day with 10 saves.

"We need to get some defenders in front of her," said Yenger. "She did well with the shots that she controlled and gave us what we needed on clears."

Wilmington (0-1) will face Transylvania 3 p.m. Saturday at Williams Stadium.