Meadville Tribune

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April 5, 2014

College Lacrosse: Late Wittenberg rally leads to 15-12 OT win over Allegheny

MEADVILLE — The Allegheny lacrosse team looked well on its way to its 11th straight victory, pulling out in front of visiting North Coast Athletic Confe-rence opponent Wittenberg 7-1 in the first half.

The visiting Tigers had other ideas, however. And they rallied to tie the score 12-12 at the end of regulation, and went on to halt the Lady Gators’ record-breaking win streak with 15-12 overtime victory over the Blue and Gold on Saturday at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.

The loss drops Allegheny to 10-1 on the season and 2-1 in the NCAC.

“Wittenberg has a couple talented players and they really took it to us,” said Gators head coach Ashley Hughes. “We tried to make the adjustments in the second half. But they kept fighting. We kept fighting. It was a great battle.”

Wittenberg now commands the top spot in the conference standings at 3-0. The Tigers are 6-2 overall.

“I think they said it best in the huddle after the game,” said Hughes, “we’ll just take this as a learning experience. We’ve been undefeated. Now we just have to learn how to lose and rebound. And they’re mentally tough. So, I have no doubt that they’ll be able to bounce back from this and be ready for our next game against Kenyon.”

The game was scoreless through the first five minutes. Then a flurry of goals during the next minute and a half pushed Allegheny into the lead 4-1.

Kelsey Rodgers, Gusty Mead and Alyssa Rapelje scored for the Gators all in the span of 31 seconds. Wittenberg’s Alie Marousek answered for the Tigers 38 seconds later. But Rodgers got back in the Tigers’ goal 18 seconds after that.

Rodgers picked up the hat trick at the period’s midway point to make it 5-1 Gators. A few minutes later, Alexa Maloney struck to make it 6-1 Allegheny.

At this point in the game, Wittenberg goalie Katie Reuter had made just three saves on nine shots. However, her save percentage would improve dramatically over the coming minutes.

Reuter went on to stop Allegheny’s next four attempts. But Mead eventually snuck one past her with seven minutes to go in the half, giving Allegheny its largest lead of the day at 7-1.

Wittenberg managed to cut into that lead before the half ended, out-scoring Allegheny 4-2 over the final six minutes to make it a 9-5 game. Olivia Lash and Beth Hubbard scored two goals each for the Tigers during that stretch.

The two teams started the second half by trading goals to make it 10-6. Hubbard first scored for Witt. Dickson answered for Allegheny.

Wittenberg then went on to score four straight. Francine Murzynski book-eneded the streak with a pair of goals, the latter of which came on a free position shot with 20:38 remaining, knotting the game at 10-10.

Allegheny retook the lead on Dickson’s second goal. But Becca Joseph responded for Wittenberg to make it 11-11 with 14:03 to play. Maloney scored her second goal of the game push the Gators ahead 12-11. But Murzynski struck for the third time in the period with 7:53 to go to tie it back up.

Both teams had opportunities to punch in a possible game-winner as the clock wound down. Wittenberg’s Anna Tarbutton had a shot ring off the post with 3:00 to go. And Allegheny had two free positions shots over the final 46 seconds. The first was collected by Reuter. The second was swallowed up by Witt’s defense for a turnover.

In overtime, Allegheny was hit with a yellow card under a minute in, giving Wittenberg an extra-player on the field. The Tigers quickly took advantage of the situation when Marousek scored from inside the circle.

Allegheny tried to answer with back-to-back shots. One went wide, the other was stopped by Reuter. And Wittenberg tacked on another goal with 3:10 left in overtime. Lash scored it.

Allegheny had another shot miss wide, and another one hit the post. And Wittenberg applied the finishing touch with a tally by Logan Warye.

Reuter ended up making 17 saves on 29 shots in the game. After a rough start, she only let in six of Allegheny’s final 20 attempts on goal.

Kaelin Clogan suffered her first loss in goal this season. She made nine saves on 24 shots on goal.

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