BENNINGTON >> For the Southern Vermont College women's lacrosse team playing its opener on Sunday, the fact that their opponent, Rivier, had four games under its belt made a big difference.
"It's an adjustment to see where we're at," said SVC coach Tom Otero. "Rivier has four games in and nine [returning players]. We want to play those type of teams and I think we hung in there well."
Rivier also has junior captain Amanda Wickens, who wreaked havoc all day against the Mountaineer defense with seven goals and three assists in an 18-7 victory at Everett Field.
Rivier wasted little time getting on the board as Wickens scored a pair of goals in the first 68 seconds to make it 2-0. Senior midfielder Paxton LaRocque — who scored five goals of her own — tallied two minutes later to go up 3-0, then Wickens added two more for a 5-0 lead in the first 10 minutes.
"I tried to scout against [them], see how they play and the stats," Otero said. "We knew [Wickens] and [LaRocque] would be good, so we wanted to match up quicker defenders with [them]. We made some adjustments at halftime."
SVC got on the board 10 minutes in, Lauren Nesshoever scoring the Mountaineers' opening goal of the year to make it 6-1. Junior midfielder and captain Mel Orrell made it 6-2 off a free-position shot a minute later and it looked like the Mountaineers would have the momentum. It took nearly 10 minutes for another score, this one from Rivier senior Jocelyn Park to jump the lead to 7-2, and Wickens added her fifth of the half with 4:58 left for a six-goal advantage
"They did better on ground balls, draws and we had way too many unforced turnovers," Otero said. "Some girls haven't played before or are fairly new to the game, they'll get better when they learn the game."
The Mountaineers made a run in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with junior Emily Lesure scoring at the 25:23 mark off an assist from Nesshoever and freshman midfielder Hailee Walker taking off after snagging a ground ball near midfielder and maneuvering through the defense and past the keeper for her first collegiate goal to pull SVC to 9-5 with 22:18 left.
But a mere 17 seconds afterward, LaRocque pulled off a similar feat to Walker's to get the lead to 10-5.
"In women's lacrosse, you can win games with a few good passes and catches," Otero said. "There's a learning period, we've only played together for a few weeks and I'm trying different players in different positions."
That was as close as the Mountaineers would get as Rivier had an answer for every SVC run.
Nesshoever and Lesure each had a pair of scores and an assist, while Orrell added two goals, eight groundballs and four draw controls.
Southern Vermont hosts its second straight game to start the 2016 season as Norwich comes to Everett Field for a matchup scheduled for Wednesday.