Mustang’s Postseason Hopes Dashed in Season Finale
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – With their Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) postseason fate in their own control, the Mount Ida College women's lacrosse team played a back and forth, tightly contested affair against the University of Saint Joseph (CT) and came up agonizingly short, falling by a 14-13 final, as the Blue Jays broke a tie game with just a minute left to play.
The victory allowed St. Joseph (4-9 overall, 3-7 GNAC) to clinch eighth place in the GNAC and earn it's first-ever appearance in the GNAC Tournament, while Mount Ida finished 6-11 overall and 2-8 in the GNAC.
Amanda Bowen (Randolph, Verm.) scored four goals for Mount Ida, while Rebecca Beaulieu (Weare, N.H.), Kaitlyn Affhauser (Cheshire, Mass.) and Molly Sheppard (Brookhaven, N.Y.) had two goals apiece for the Mustangs.
Rachel Foster scored her fifth goal of the game with one minute remaining to break a 13-all tie after Mount Ida had scored three straight goals to erase a 13-10 deficit and tie the game.
Foster had five goals and five assists and established a new single-season school record with 58 points (38 goals and another single-season record 20 assists). Dayna Gambino scored a game-high six goals giving her 40 for the season, which tied the record she set in 2012.
The game was played on the edge of a knife blade, with eight ties and multi-goal leads rare. Mount Ida took the only two-goal lead of the first half at 5-3 after a goal from Sheppard with 9:05 to play on the way to a 6-5 advantage at halftime.
Foster, Mojsa and Gambino scored to stake the Blue Jays to an 8-6 lead early in the second half. The Mustangs came back to take their final lead of the day at 10-9 on a goal from Sheppard with 16:14 left. The Blue Jays then ran off four goals and Gambino's sixth of the day put USJ up 13-10 with 8:26 left. Mount Ida, however, had one last push, with Beaulieu and Bowen tallying before an unassisted goal by Kailee Lutz (Foxboro, Mass.) tied the game at 13 before with 1:12 remaining before Foster's decisive goal 12 seconds later.
Mount Ida had the ball in the final minute with a chance to re-tie the game, but Anne Pitoniak (W. Haven, Conn.) made a save and Francesca Mastria (Higganum, Conn.) picked up a huge ground ball with 32 seconds left and the Blue Jays retained possession until the final horn.
Mustang junior goalie Sammy Levitt (Wayland, Mass.) made 11 saves, while Pitoniak made 13 stops for the Blue Jays.
USJ plays top-seeded Emmanuel in the GNAC Tournament, Tue. April 22 at 7 p.m. at Roberto Clemente Field in Boston.