April 30, 2010
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Led by senior team captain Erin Rawlick's (Forest Hill, Md.) game-high five goals and nine draw controls, the Navy women's lacrosse team (15-3) knocked off third-seed and two-time defending champion Colgate (9-8), 15-10 in an impressive all-around effort on Friday in the semifinal round of the 2010 Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Tournament at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
With the victory, their sixth in the last seven games and 15th this season, the Midshipmen are now just one win away from capturing their first Patriot League Championship.
Navy, who has now advanced to the league final in two-straight seasons, will face top seed and tournament host Lehigh on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.
"I am just so proud," said an emotional Navy head coach Cindy Timchal. "We showed up today and showed the world how tough we can be. I thought we played very well today in all phases of the game. Our start was huge. Colgate is a very tough team. They beat Florida earlier this year and came from behind by five goals in doing it, so we knew we could never let up."
"I thought the fast start really helped," said Rawlick, who finished with six points (5 g, 1 a) and now has a career-best 69 goals this season. "When we played them in the regular season we had to come from behind and I felt like today we were in control the entire way."
The Mids carried the play right from the onset, outshooting the Raiders by a 23-9 margin and winning 12 of 14 draws over the contest's first 30 minutes.
Senior Mary Ruttum (Annapolis, Md.) put Navy on the scoreboard on a curl from around the crease at the 25:31 mark. After Colgate evened things up, the Mids reeled off three unanswered to take a 4-1 advantage.
Junior Caitlin Mandrin Hill (Annapolis, Md.) and sophomore Danielle Vivonetto (Rocky Point, N.Y.) scored just 16 seconds apart at the 23:38 and 23:22 marks, respectively. Mandrin Hill scored on a quick move from behind the cage, while Vivonetto's goal came off a feed from freshman Kathy Young (Berwyn, Pa.) as Navy transitioned to the goal following one of Rawlick's five first half draw controls.
Junior Katrina Nietsch
(New Canaan, Conn.) would then net an unassisted goal to cap the run at 21:16. The two teams would exchange scores the remainder of the half, with Rawlick netting a pair, including a goal in traffic with just 27 seconds left to restore Navy's three-goal lead at the break. Vivonetto and Young both added scores in the period for the Mids, who very easily could have put double-digits up in the first half, but had six shots hit the pipe and saw a goal waved off for being offsides.
The Mids carried the momentum into the second half as Rawlick won the opening draw and raced to the cage for her third goal of the day just 10 seconds into the period to give Navy a four-goal advantage. After back-to-back Colgate tallies cut the deficit in half at 24:52, the 2010 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and nation's leading scorer struck again to make it a 10-7 game.
Free position goals from Kathy Young at 19:00 and Vivonetto some two-and-a-half minutes later would extend Navy's lead to 12-7. Colgate managed to end a nearly 14-minute scoring drought with a goal from Meghan Lawler with 10:57 remaining in the contest, but Rawlick answered again with her fourth goal of the half and fifth of the game on an eight-meter attempt at 8:11.
The pressure began to mount on the two-time defending league champions as goals from Ruttum and sophomore Madison Bell (Baltimore, Md.) made it a 3-0 Navy run and put the Mids out in front comfortably at 15-8 with just over five minutes left in regulation.
Colgate would score back-to-back goals to cut the deficit to 15-10, but would draw no closer the rest of the way.
Sophomore Elaina Ponchione (Silver Spring, Md.) and freshman Michelle Verbeeck (Wading River, N.Y.) teamed up to handle the goalkeeping duties. Ponchione earned the start and finished with three saves, while Verbeeck closed it out making three saves of her own over the final 24-plus minutes.
Vivonetto (3 g), Mandrin Hill (1 g, 2 a) and Kathy Young (2 g, 1 a) all finished with three points apiece for the Mids. Mandrin Hill was very active all afternoon and it showed in her final statline, as she was credited with four draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers.
On the final stat sheet, Navy had a resounding 21-6 advantage in draw controls, converted 12 of 13 clears and outshot the Raiders by a 35-23 margin. Colgate finished with fewer turnovers (11 to Navy's 17) and more ground balls (18-16), but converted only 12 of 20 clears and never led during the duration of the 60-minute contest.
Navy has now defeated Colgate in two consecutive games after dropping each of the first three meetings in the series, including last year's league final in Hamilton, N.Y.
"I am happy with the win, but not excited because we are here to win the championship," said Timchal. "I'll be excited if we do that."
* With Friday's effort, Rawlick has ran her career-best and nation-leading point total to 100 (69 goals, 31 assists). She is the first Patriot League player to hit the century mark since Lehigh's Jill Altshuler put up 119 points in 1996. In four career postseason games, she now has a team-best 20 points (14 g, 6 a).
## Go Navy! ##