PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College (7-6, 1-4 ECC) was pushed throughout but held on for a 16-14 victory over the University of Bridgeport (3-3, 0-2 ECC) in East Coast Confernce play at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium in Painesville, Ohio.
The win was the Storm's first this season in ECC play and moved Lake Erie back above .500.
Junior Julia Kudla (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton) led Lake Erie with four goals, all coming in the first half. Rabuano picked up the slack in the second half where she scored all three of her goals. Sophomore Annie Mendoza (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Catholic) also had three goals and an assist and junior Meredith Howe (Fayetteville, N.Y./Jamesville Dewilt) and sophomore Ashriel West (Jamesville, N.Y./Jamesville Dewitt) each scored twice.
In the first 11 minutes, the teams traded goals back and forth with neither team leading by more than a goal. Five different Storm players scored in the first 11 minutes. With the score tied 5-5, Kudla put Lake Erie ahead with a free position goal. It was the first of four straight goals for the Storm as Mendoza scored followed by two more successful strikes from Kudla as the Purple Knights went over 11 minutes without scoring. However, Bridgeport got three straight goals to close the half down just one, 9-8.
Lake Erie led the entire second half but was never able to pull away. Mendoza and Rabuano opened the half with scores for the Storm but Bridgeport cut the deficit to one at 11-10 at 24:43. Rabuano kept her big second half going with back-to-back goals in a 56 second span to go ahead 13-10 at 19:50. Bridgeport and Lake Erie traded the next six goals. The Purple Knights made the score 15-13 with 9:55 to play but Lake Erie was able to successfully run out the clock from there. The Storm added an insurance goal with 1:27 to play by West with Bridgeport's Lindsay Kehoe adding a late goal, her fifth of the game, with 17 seconds left for the final margin.
Sophomore Emily Rock (Hamilton, Ohio/Lakota West) played one of her best games in goal for the Storm with seven saves, making several difficult stops.
The difference in the game was clears as Lake Erie went a perfect 9-of-9 on clear attempts while Bridgeport was just 8-of-15.
Lake Erie returns to action Saturday at 1:00 p.m. when it travels to Mercy College.