NEWTON, Mass – The Mount Ida College women's lacrosse team nipped the Falcons of Fitchburg State University on Thursday afternoon by a final of 15-14. Senior Molly Sheppard (Brookhaven, N.Y.) scored the game winning goal with ten seconds remaining after a sprinting Kaitlyn Affhauser (Chesire, Mass.) found Sheppard who buried home the winner.
Mount Ida improves to 4-8 (1-5 GNAC) while Fitchburg State drops to 2-5 (0-1 MASCAC).
Freshman midfielder Rebecca Beaulieu (Weare, N.H.) started things off for the Mustangs at 26:52 mark tallying her first goal of the day before teammates Samantha Basler (Plymouth, Mass.) and Affhauser notched their first tallies of the day giving Mount Ida the early 3-0 advantage. Beaulieu would add her second of the contest giving Mount Ida the 4-0 cushion.
Andrea Comeau (Watertown, Mass.) ended the Mustangs streak by cutting into the hosts lead on a free position goal and bringing her team within three before Basler responded for Mount Ida scoring on a free position goal of her own bringing the Falcon deficit back to four at 5-1. The Falcons started to chip away by scoring the game's next three goals off tallies from Kayla Panek (Belchertown, Mass.), Comeau, and Ali Laferriere (Tyngsboro, Mass.).
Holding onto a one goal advantage at 5-4 Beaulieu would continue her early game dominance and tally her third goal of the opening half increasing the lead to 6-4 in favor of Mount Ida. Comeau returned the favor for Fitchburg brining the Falcons back within one before Markie Apple (Pittsfield, Mass.) brought the visitors all the way back to tie things at 6-6 at the 9:59 mark.
Once again the Mustangs returned the favor on Sheppard's team leading 34th goal of the year before Basler recorded her 15th of the season and retaking the lead 8-6 on her second free position goal of the afternoon. With 6:22 remaining in the half, Fitchburg stood pat and once again tied the game off the sticks of Apple and Laferriere. With the score knotted 8-8 both teams would exchange goals over the final 2:30 minutes on markers by Beaulieu and Apple.
At the end of a back and forth first half battle the Mustangs and Falcons remained tied at 9-9.
The second half began and continued just as the first half did for the Mustangs and Falcons. Sheppard came out of the break scoring the first goal of the stanza while regaining the lead for the home team at 10-9. Both teams played excellent defense for the next seven plus minutes before Fitchburg scored two free position goals in a seven second span from Laferriere and Apple to take their first lead of the game at 11-10. It wasn't long before Mount Ida found their scoring ways to retake the lead at 13-11 off of three straight goals from Affhauser, Amanda Bowen (Randolph, Vt.) and Beaulieu's game high 5th goal of the contest.
With less than ten minutes remaining in the non-conference matchup and trailing by two goals, Fitchburg fired back at the Mustangs tying the game back up on a free position tally from Laferriere and an unassisted goal from Comeau. Seconds later, Bowen regained the lead once again for Mount Ida off an unassisted goal with 7:45 remaining.
As the second half neared its end, Apple got her team back in the contest by knotting the high scoring affair back up at 14-14. After a Laferriere draw control and ground ball, the Falcons held onto the ball and began working the clock for a potential last shot to win the game. However, a costly Falcon turnover in the Mount Ida defensive half of the field saw Mustang Kayla Bravo (East Providence, R.I.) pick up the ground ball and fire a pass to Affhauser up field who found Sheppard running alongside for the eventual game winning goal.
Junior Sammy Levitt saw the entirety of the game in net for the Mustangs making nine saves on 30 shots and earning the win. Falcon keeper Elizabeth Darrigo (Billerica, Mass.) took the loss while notching 11 saves on 33 shots.
Mount Ida held the 29-18 advantage in ground balls as the Mustangs saw Levitt and Basler each record five a piece on the afternoon. Apple led the way for Fitchburg with six ground balls.
The Mustangs will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they host Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) conference foe Emmanuel College with a 1:00 start. Fitchburg State will also return to action on Saturday when they entertain Westfield State University.