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DeMeo, Breglia lead Bulldogs to 19-14 win over Mount St. Mary's, Bulldogs clinch top seed in NEC Tournament

Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography
Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore Jess DeMeo (Mount Sinai, N.Y.) scored five goals while freshman Caitlin Breglia (Long Beach, N.Y.) registered seven points to keep the Bryant University women's lacrosse team's run to a perfect league record intact, pacing a 19-14 home win over Mount St. Mary's Friday.

With the victory, the Bulldogs (10-4, 6-0 Northeast Conference) clinch at least a share of their fourth-straight regular-season title and secure the top seed and hosting rights to the upcoming 2017 NEC Tournament.

Eight different Bulldogs registered goals, while Breglia (3 goals, 4 assists) and junior attack Catlin Brown (San Diego, Calif.) (3g, 2a) recorded hat tricks in the victory. Jannel Daufenbach led the Mount (4-10, 3-3) with four scores, while Kate Kinsella and Sammie Knapp picked up three goals apiece for the visitors.

The Mountaineers took charge early in the contest and were able to reign in the league's top team each time the Bulldogs looked to be out of reach. But Mount St. Mary's comebacks would fall short in the end, despite scoring five of the final seven tallies.

The visitors opened up a 3-1 advantage less than eight minutes into the contest, scoring unassisted goals from Daufenbach, Kinsella and Taylor Carhart that were interrupted only by the first of two Ali Cardinal (Schenectady, N.Y.) scores in the contest.

But the edge would soon switch sides, as the Black and Gold scored four straight over four minutes to swing the advantage to 5-3 favoring the hosts. The stretch included two free position goals from Brown.

Daufenbach would get back on the board at the 17:30 mark to cut the margin to 5-4, but that was as close as the Mountaineers would get for the remainder of the contest.

The Bulldogs would see four more consecutive tallies – including back-to-back goals from Jasmine Perkins (West Babylon, N.Y.) assisted by Brown – over the next four minutes for a five-goal advantage, and two more DeMeo scores would wrap up an 11-2 Bryant run over a 16-minute stretch in the opening half.

But the visitors would net the final three goals of the half, all in the final two minutes, to close the margin to just 12-9 entering the intermission.

Bryant would get five goals from five different players to start the second stanza, opening up a 17-9 lead off Brown's third and final tally with 13:51 left on the clock. But the Mount continued to fight, scoring five of the next six goals for an 18-14 deficit.

The push was too little, though, as DeMeo capped off her strong performance with a free position tally with 11 ticks to go to solidify the 19-14 final.

Senior Shannon Sullivan (Farmingdale, N.Y.) netted a pair in the win, while classmate Emily Columbus (East Northport, N.Y.) and sophomore Emma Ahlrichs (Zionsville, Ind.) wrapped up Bryant's eight scorers with a goal apiece.

Ahlrichs and senior defender Carly Cronin (Feeding Hills, Mass.) paced the side with four draws each, while Daufenbach grabbed a game-high eight to drive the game margin in the visitors' direction, 23-12.

DeMeo and Brown each collected a game-high three ground balls while the latter finished the day with two caused turnovers. Junior goalie Samantha Santeramo (Wantagh, N.Y.) made seven saves in the contest despite giving up the most goals since the season opener. Mount St. Mary's goalies Jillian Petito and Elicia Wells combined for eight stops.

Bryant edged Mount St. Mary's in shots, 34-31, and ground balls, 11-8, while going a perfect 16-for-16 on the clear. The Bulldogs limited their turnovers to single digits (7).

The Black and Gold will have a shot at their second perfect league slate in program history Sunday, when they host Wagner College in the regular-season finale and 2017 Senior Day at 1 p.m. at the Bryant Track & Turf Complex.

The Bulldogs will host the NEC Tournament for the fourth-consecutive season May 5 and 7.