ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The No. 15/12 Navy women's lacrosse team (17-1) advanced to the Patriot League Tournament final by defeating fourth-seeded Lafayette (9-9), 9-8, in the semifinals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Friday. Top-seeded Navy will host the league championship against Holy Cross on Sunday at 12 noon.
With its win over Lafayette, Navy won its 11th-straight game, a program record, and will seek a fourth-consecutive tournament title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. The Mids also won a third-straight one-goal game.
"I am pleased with our total team effort and happy that we pulled it together," head coach Cindy Timchal said. "Everyone stepped it up and we know we will have another tough game coming up. The semifinals are always close games and we toughened out a great team victory."
Lafayette took control of the game early with a methodic time-consuming offense and was able to stake a 3-0 lead after the first 15 minutes of play.
Senior Kathy Young (Berwyn, Pa.) keyed Navy's first goal by picking up a loose ball that would have been a Navy turnover and feeding senior attacker Jasmine DePompeo (Sayville, N.Y.) for a goal at the 14:12 mark.
It appeared that Lafayette would take a 4-1 lead when Addie Godfrey scored with 8:50 remaining, but Navy called for a stick check and her stick was found to be illegal and the goal was disallowed.
Navy then got two quick goals, the first coming 30 seconds after Lafayette's goal was taken off the board when junior attacker Aimee Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.) scored off a feed from DePompeo. Fourteen seconds after Gennaro's goal, sophomore attacker Loren Generi (Bayport, N.Y.) scored from Gennaro as Navy evened the game at 3-3.
The game remained tied at 3-3 until 33 seconds remaining in the first half when Lafayette's Cammie Linville scored on an eight-meter goal. Lafayette then added a second goal with just six seconds left in the half for the 5-3 halftime edge.
Lafayette won the opening draw of the second half, but sophomore midfielder Lindsay Rheiner (Wycombe, Pa.) caused a turnover and then scooped up the ground ball. Young then took the ball in on cage and scored to cut the deficit to one.
Four minutes later Godfrey scored as Lafayette took a 6-4 lead but the Mids would battle back again.
DePompeo scored an unassisted tally coming around the back of the cage at 22:51 and two minutes later Gennaro scored an unassisted strike to tie the game at 6-6.
Just 45 seconds later Rheiner scored off a feed from Gennaro to give Navy its first lead of the game at 7-6.
Navy extended its lead to 8-6 five minutes later when Generi scored off a feed from DePompeo to cap off a critical 4-0 run.
Lafayette's Ana White scored two minutes after that to cut the deficit to one, but Rheiner scored an outstanding goal taking a pass from Gennaro and seemingly in one motion ripping a shot past the Leopard goalie. Godfrey scored again four minutes later to cut the lead to 9-8, but Navy won the ensuing draw and was able to run out a sizeable amount of clock.
Lafayette caused a turnover with 28 seconds to go and took the ball right downfield and drew a penalty inside the fan. Godfrey stepped up to take the free-position goal and tie the game with 11 seconds left but Navy goalie Annie Foky (Charlottesville, Va.) made her seventh save of the game.
Foky improves to 15-1 in goal for Navy and has established a new single-season school record for goalie wins.
Gennaro scored a game-high five points on two goals and three assists and DePompeo had two goals and two assists. Generi also scored twice and had three draw controls.
Rheiner had the best game of her young career with two goals, four ground balls, three caused turnovers and a draw control.
Navy outshot Lafayette, 21-18, and held an 11-10 edge in ground balls. Lafayette led in draw controls, 11-8.
Navy improves to 7-0 all-time against the Leopards.
No. 3 Holy Cross defeated No. 2 American, 8-7, in the second semifinal.