By Matt Green
ROME – As if they needed another statement win after upsetting defending National Women's Lacrosse League champion and top-ranked SCAD-Savannah last month, the Shorter women's lacrosse team decided to send another early message on Monday.
The Lady Hawks sent notice that they may, in fact, be the best in the NWLL.
Avery Armstrong netted a career best eight goals, Shelby Beverly added four more and second-ranked Shorter outscored visiting St. Andrews by 11 in the first half en route to a 19-9 victory in non-conference NWLL action at Ben Brady Field.
Shorter (5-2), ranked No. 2 in the second edition of the NWLL Coaches' Poll released today, dismantled the previously unbeaten and No. 4-ranked Knights (6-1), who had already posted signature wins over perennial NWLL powers Tennessee Wesleyan and Aquinas this season.
And they did so from the opening draw.
The Lady Hawks scored the game's first three goals. Then eight of the first nine. By the time the opening 30 minutes was over, Shorter had built a 14-3 halftime lead behind seven goals from Armstrong and a 27-7 advantage in shots.
Shorter slowed the pace in the second half and took just 11 shots, but still kept St. Andrews at a distance with smothering defense. The Knights managed only 11 shots in the second half and were never able to mount a rally as the Lady Hawks didn't let St. Andrews closer than nine.
Mia Wiggins added three goals for Shorter, which held a 41-34 edge in ground balls and went 7-for-12 on free position attempts. The Lady Hawks also forced 27 turnovers and won 20 of 30 draw controls.
Rachel Skinner scored twice and dished out an assist, Aiste Pranciliauskaite had a goal and two assists and Amber Hicks chipped in with a goal for the Lady Hawks. Taylor Moody made five saves in goal.
Shana Schroeder paced St. Andrews with five goals. She scored all three St. Andrews goals in the first half to try and give her team some measure of momentum.
But Shorter scored early and often, putting five players in the scorebook in the first half while unleashing the balanced attack that has helped the team to wins in five of its first seven games.
St. Andrews had rocketed up the NWLL Coaches' Poll by winning six straight to open the season, including those upset wins over TWC and Aquinas. The Knights, who began the season unranked, appeared at No. 7 in last week's first edition of the NWLL Coaches' Poll before moving up three more spots to No. 4 in Week 2's rankings.
Shorter dropped a rung from a tie for the No. 1 spot to No. 2 behind SCAD-Savannah in the latest poll. That might change after Monday's result.
The Lady Hawks return to action on Wednesday, March 13 when they travel to ninth-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan. Game time is set for 4 pm.