Late Rally Lifts Women's Lacrosse to PL Finals
BALTIMORE, Md. -- Trailing 8-7 with under 10 minutes to play, the Navy women's lacrosse team used goals by Morgan Young (Baltimore, Md.) and Meg O'Donnell (Forest Hill, Md.) to defeat Lehigh (12-6), 9-8, on Friday night in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament. With the win, the Midshipmen (14-4) advance to the championship game for the third consecutive year.
Down one with 4:34 to play, Young took a pass from Kelly Larkin (Alexandria, Va.) and spun pass a defender to tie the game, 8-8. Seventy-three seconds later, Navy took its first lead since early in the first half as O'Donnell corralled a pass from Andie O'Sullivan (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) and juked the goalie to bury the ball in the back of the net and put the Midshipmen up 9-8.
The defense held the final 3:21 to limit the Mountain Hawks to just one shot attempt to secure the victory.
"Hats off to Lehigh," head coach Cindy Timchal said after the game. "They gave us all they've got. In the end, we hung in there for a really tight win. I am really proud of our team. The defense was really tough in the second half. You knew it was going to be a tough game. We will take it and move on to face Loyola on Sunday."
The Midshipmen defense disrupted the Mountain Hawk offense, leading to 22 Lehigh turnovers on the night. The defense was credited with nine forced turnovers, including a team-high two caused turnovers by Meghan Hubley (West Chester, Pa.), Blake Smith (Sykesville, Md.) and Young.
The Navy back line limited the Lehigh offense to just four shots in the second half to keep the game close and allow the offense opportunities to capitalize. It was just the second time this season that the Mids won after trailing at halftime. Navy trailed 5-1 against Bryant before winning 9-8 in overtime earlier this season.
O'Donnell led the team with four goals, while Jenna Collins (Clarksville, Md.) paced the team with five points (3g, 2a). Larkin joined Je. Collins for the team lead with two assists. Kayla Harris (Arnold, Md.) and Ingrid Boyum (Herndon, Va.) led the team with three ground balls each, while Julia Collins (Clarksville, Md.) led the team with six draw controls.
As a team, the Midshipmen won the draw control battle, 12-7, while picking up 19 ground balls compared to the Mountain Hawks' 11.
Defense was the story of the first half. The Mids limited the Mountain Hawks to just five goals, but the Lehigh defense held Navy to just three goals.
The Midshipmen opened up the scoring, netting a pair of goals. Harris took a pass from Larkin and found the back of the cage to put the designated home team in front 1-0 with 28:26 to play in the first half.
Neither team was able to score for the next 12 minutes, but Navy broke the scoring drought as O'Donnell scored off an assist from Je. Collins.
Lehigh answered with three consecutive goals to take a 3-2 lead with 8:42 to play. Courtney Henig, Sondra Dickey, and Julianne D'Orazio each had goals in the run. However, Je. Collins notched the equalizer converting a free-position opportunity with 7:51 to play in the half.
The Mountain Hawks closed out the half with a pair of goals to take a 5-3 lead into halftime. Kellie Gough and Dickey scored goals to give Lehigh the halftime advantage.
In the second half, the two teams battled even for the first 15 minutes.
Navy scored the first goal of the second half as O'Donnell trimmed the deficit to just one, 5-4. Lehigh answered with a goal just three minutes later to extend the advantage back to two.
With 19:39 remaining in the second half, Je. Collins pivoted around a defender and found the back of the net for an unassisted goal to bring the Midshipmen to within one at 6-5. The Mountain Hawks responded with an unassisted goal by First Team All-Patriot League player Allison Labeau.
Navy once again used an unassisted goal by Je. Collins to pull to within one. Je. Collins came around the goal and beat the goalie one-on-one to bring the score to 7-6 with 13:22 to play.
Two minutes later, O'Donnell scored the equalizer with 11:12 to play. Harris picked up a ground ball after a turnover and began the drive down the field. She completed the clear attempted and dumped the ball over to Ju. Collins who fired a pass to O'Donnell in front of the cage for the game-tying goal.
Lehigh regained the lead as D'Orazio converted a free-position attempt to go ahead 8-7 with 9:58 to play.
The defense stood strong and did not allow a Lehigh shot over the next nine minutes to set up the dramatic comeback.
Navy returns to action on Sunday as the Midshipmen take on top-seeded Loyola in the Patriot League Championship. Opening draw is slated for noon.