|Jaspers Rally From Six Down, Top Niagara 15-14|
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Trailing by six with 20 minutes left, the Manhattan College women's lacrosse team (4-9, 2-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) scored eight of the final nine goals to notch a come-from-behind 15-14 win over Niagara (3-8, 0-4 MAAC) at Gaelic Park on Saturday afternoon. Kelsey Rehain (Suffern, N.Y.) had five points, including the game-winning goal with 1:03 remaining.
"It was very important (to get the win today)," Head Coach Diane Haddeland said. "It was a big win, and not just for our confidence."
Niagara led 13-7 before Brianna Rickert (Wyckoff, N.J.) found the back of the net twice to trim the Jaspers' deficit to four. Donna Jo DiNorcia (Verona, N.J.) added a tally 26 seconds after Rickert's second goal, but Niagara's Sheehan Mulholland put one in at the 10:28 mark to put the Purple Eagles in front 14-10.
It would remain 14-10 until the 8:40 mark, when Carly Eskenazi (Kinnelon, N.J.) converted on a free position attempt. Rehain scored to make it 14-12, then assisted on Chrissy Gutenberger's (Stony Point, N.Y.) tally that brought the Jaspers within one with 2:38 remaining. Manhattan won the ensuing draw, and Caitlin Hynes (Mahopac, N.Y.) drove down, drew a foul, and scored the game-tying goal on her free position attempt with 1:47 to go. The Jaspers earned another free position attempt at the 1:08 mark, but instead of shooting, Manhattan used the opportunity to set up a play. After a scramble in front of the net, Rehain ended up with the ball, and she put it in the back of the net to put the Jaspers ahead for the first time, 15-14, with 1:03 left to play.
"We were really trying to drive," Rehain said. "They were putting a lot of pressure on the attack, so I thought it was great how we moved it around and had some cuts through the middle. I just saw it and went. I faked the goalie out."
The Jaspers once again controlled the draw after Rehain's goal, but gave it back to the Purple Eagles with 28 seconds remaining. After Lauren Pribetich (Farmingville, N.Y.) forced a turnover with 11 seconds left, she was stripped by Niagara's Brittany Delano, giving the Purple Eagles one final opportunity. However, Amy Branchini (Slingerlands, N.Y.) caused a turnover and picked up the ground ball as time expired, giving Manhattan the victory.
"The girls really pushed and did the little things right, which I think is a key for us to be successful," Haddeland said. "I told them that we just needed to play our game and do the things that we've been practicing."
The teams traded goals throughout the first half and went into the locker room knotted at 5-5. After Niagara scored on a pair of free position shots early in the second half, the Jaspers tied it on tallies from BrieAnna Spatarella (Rocky Point, N.Y.) and Clare Kerrisk (Keansburg, N.J.). However, the Purple Eagles answered with six consecutive goals to take their 13-7 advantage.
Rehain had two assists to go along with her hat trick. She also recorded a pair of draw controls. DiNorcia finished with three points (two goals, one assist), while Eskenazi, Kerrisk and Rickert added two goals apiece. Kerrisk, Pribetich and Spatarella each collected three ground balls, as Manhattan held a 21-19 advantage in that category, and Elizabeth Dugan (Stony Point, N.Y.) contributed four draw controls. Christina Fiorinelli (Massapequa, N.Y.) (4-9) recorded 12 saves to earn the victory.
Fran Pollastro tallied four goals for Niagara, while Nicole Karek notched three goals and three draw controls. Paige Matecki had three points (two goals, one assist) to go along with a game-high six draw controls, while Courtney Pierce distributed three assists. Four different Purple Eagles grabbed two ground balls and Niagara held a 15-14 edge on draw controls. Kaitlin Sorgi (3-7) made eight saves in a losing effort.
With the victory, the Jaspers moved within a half-game of fourth place in the MAAC. Manhattan concludes its home schedule on Wednesday night against one of the teams above it in the standings-Iona (8-6, 2-2 MAAC). Prior to the 7 p.m. contest, seniors Dugan, Gutenberger, Spatarella and Breana Leonard (Bay Shore, N.Y.) will be honored.