Mackenzie Gandy ties record, Colonials extinguish Flames 9-8


Mackenzie Gandy tied the all-time points record at RMU as the Colonials toppled Liberty 9-8. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Tyler Gallo, Sports Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP– 39 minutes and 29 seconds.

That’s all it took for graduate attack Mackenzie Gandy to tie the all-time points record of 179 set by Ashley Levering in 2009, a record Gandy has been sitting on the verge of breaking for nearly a calendar year.

After potentially not getting another chance to break the record due to COVID-19, Mackenzie left no doubt on if she would have broken it last season by firing two goals and an assist in the performance.

The Colonials (1-0) battled the Liberty Flames (0-2) for their first matchup since COVID-19 canceled the rest of their season in 2020, their first game in 348 days.

Head coach Katrina Silva was happy to see the team back in action and was proud of the effort in the victory.

“It felt like a normal day for a second,” she said. “It’s been a long road to get here. The girls battled, we have great kids who love to play the game, especially the fifth-years who returned. Their heart showed.”

Mackenzie Gandy opened up the scoring just under five minutes into the first half after a bout of consistent offensive pressure. Bailey Christianson found her in front, and she buried it to give the Colonials the 1-0 lead.

Her twin sister Melanie followed right up with a goal of her own, charging towards the goal and doubling the Colonials lead less than two minutes later. Mia Toscano of Liberty responded with a fast break goal, grabbing control of the ball at center field and rushing all the way down to cut the deficit to one.

Mackenzie ripped yet another goal after this, drawing two points closer to the record and extending the lead to two once more.

Back-and-forth action ensued following the third Colonial goal, but just before the 16-minute mark, Liberty’s Anna Keebler found the back of the net to draw closer again, but it was waved off. Leah Ruby made that point moot by scoring a goal of her own.

Liberty continued their offensive onslaught right after with Brooke Bryan adding a goal to tie the game.

The Flames significantly upped their offensive pressure for the next several minutes, but graduate goaltender Katelyn Miller stood tall. The Colonials were marred by offensive-zone turnovers late in the half.

Liberty battled to their first lead with under two minutes to play as Toscano grabbed another goal to give them a 4-3 edge. Jordan Shieve added another just seconds later to make it 5-3 on the player-advantage.

With 30 seconds left, Melanie found Clio Kerr and the Colonials made the score 5-4. The score would stay this way entering the break. Toscano and Mackenzie Gandy each led the first half with two goals.

The early minutes of the second half went by without a hitch as both teams jockeyed for position. Flames goaltender Jennifer Soriero made a few key saves to keep the score 5-4.

With 23 minutes remaining, Julia Koterwas received a pass from Kelley Flynn and weaved around two defenders, rifling a shot by Soriero to tie the game up at five. Grace Fletcher notched a quick response goal to give the Flames the lead once more.

The Colonials charged down the field after this and responded right back on the strength of a goal by Hannah Miller, who received a pass from Mackenzie Gandy. Mackenzie tied the all-time points record on this play.

Annie Keebler suffered an apparent leg injury with 19 minutes remaining, falling to the turf and in significant pain. She was carted off.

Melanie Gandy set up Olivia Rupert who sent one past Soriero to give the Colonials their first lead since the first half, the first goal of Rupert’s collegiate career.

After the Colonials spent a large amount of time pinned in their zone, Liberty made them pay as Toscano completed the hat-trick to tie the game with 11:14 remaining.

The back-and-forth affair raged on as Kelley Flynn scored a pair of goals to give the Colonials another lead, leading 8-7 with ten minutes to go. An inopportune bounce for Liberty rolled right past Soriero and the Colonials stretched their lead to 9-7.

The teams traded possessions for a while until Mackenzie Lehman broke the ice with 3:20 remaining, ensuring that the final three minutes of the came would be hotly contested.

Miller made some huge saves for the Colonials and prevented an onslaught in the final minute, holding on to win 9-8.

Silva was appreciative of Gandy’s record-tying effort in the match, praising how hard she works.

“[Mackenzie] has a real knack for playing lacrosse, and I am really happy that she tied the record,” she said. “She would have crushed it last season because she was cruising, so I am glad she got that monkey off her back.”

The Colonials return to the field Tuesday when they match up with Fresno State (1-1) at 12:30 p.m. looking to continue their winning ways.