Win Streak Snapped as Navy Falls to Villanova in Overtime, 15-14
Elaina Ponchione made 13 saves, including a number from point-blank range, in the cage gor the Mids
March 24, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Senior attack Taryn McKenna scored a career-high seven goals, including the deciding tally in the extra session, to lead a spirited Villanova (3-6) effort as the visiting Wildcats topped Navy (6-2) in a hard-fought, 15-14 overtime victory on Tuesday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The loss snapped Navy's 14-game home winning streak - the nation's second-longest active home winning streak coming in to the contest.
"It certainly was a disappointing loss for us," sand Navy head coach Cindy Timchal. "It just wasn't our night. I thought we had righted the ship and got things going towards the end of the first half, but we continued to struggle in the circle and in the clearing game, where we had been strong all season thus far.
"You have to give credit to that Villlanova squad. They came out with a lot of energy and really kept coming at us all night long."
In what was a sea-saw affair throughout, featuring nine ties and five lead changes, Villanova tied the game late in regulation as senior Katie Stone found the back of the cage with exactly 1:00 remaining to even the score at 12-12 and force overtime.
Playing in the program's first-ever overtime contest, Navy struck first on a goal just 40 seconds in from freshman Kierstin King (Upperco, Md.) to pull ahead 13-12 in the first three-minute period. The lead would be shortlived, however, as the visitors would reel off the next three goals, a pair of which came in a 19-second span, to take the lead for good.
McKenna, who led all players with eight points (7 g, 1 a) on the evening, scored twice in the extra session, registering the go-ahead goal and then adding what proved to be a very important insurance tally with 2:17 to play.
Sophomore Katrina Nietsch (New Canaan, Conn.) scored with 53 seconds remaining to bring the Mids to within one, but despite some late pressure (firing five shots in the final 30 seconds), Navy was unable to find the equalizer.
Junior Erin Rawlick (Forest Hill, Md.) led Navy with six points on four goals and two assists, freshman Madison Bell (Baltimore, Md.) added three goals while Nietsch, sophomore teammate Caitlin Mandrin Hill (Annapolis, Md.) and freshman Dani Vivonetto (Rocky Point, N.Y.) each finished with two goals apiece.
Although the score remained tight, the Mids struggled out of the gate as Villanova controlled possession for a majority of the opening half, collecting the first five draws and seven of the first eight on the evening.
Riding the backs of Bell, Rawlick and freshman goalie Elaina Ponchione (Silver Spring, Md.), the Mids rebounded from their sluggish start to close out the half with three straight goals to take a 7-5 lead into the intermission.
Rawlick, who extended her goal scoring streak to 25 games (eight-longest in the country), racked up five points in opening period (3 g, 2 a), Bell added all three of her goals and Ponchione made seven of her 13 saves, including a number of which came on attempts from point-blank range.
Navy would extend its lead to three, twice during the early stages of the second half, but when it needed it the most, was unable to deliver the knockout punch. Instead, the resilient Villanova squad battled back to draw even midway through the period and then had answer each time the Mids pulled back in front.
Navy looked to have the game in hand with a 12-11 lead and control of the ball with just over 1:30 left to play, but a late turnover proved costly leading to the Wildcats' game-tying score just 60 ticks left on the scoreboard.
On the evening, Villanova held a narrow 36-33 advantage in shots, despite the Mids' 9-4 edge in the extra session. The Wildcats lost the ground ball battle (24-18), but thanks to collecting five of the seven draws after regulation, they held the advantage in the draw circle, 19-14. Both teams committed 23 turnovers over the 66-minute contest.
Navy will look to rebound this weekend when it hosts preseason favorite Colgate (7-3, 2-0 PL) in a nationally-televised contest on Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The contest will be aired live on the CBS College Sports network, beginning at 12 noon.
Notes: A pair of yellow cards forced Navy to play all but 44 seconds of overtime without its leading scorer Erin Rawlick ... Tuesday's contest marked the program's 25th varsity game.
### GO NAVY! ###