W&L Women's Lax Advances to Final Four, Downs William Smith, 7-6, in OT

W&L Women's Lax Advances to Final Four, Downs William Smith, 7-6, in OT

LEXINGTON, Va. – Senior attacker Hayley Soutter (McLean, Va. / Langley) scored with 1:24 remaining in overtime to lead the Washington and Lee women's lacrosse team to a 7-6 victory over William Smith in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon at Watt Field.

The Generals (19-1) scored two straight goals midway through the second half to take a 6-5 lead with 13:31 left to play.  Sophomore midfielder Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va. / St. Catherine's) scored off an assist from Soutter at the 20:17 mark to tie the game at 5-5, and Tucker then fed Soutter for a 6-5 lead at 13:31.

William Smith (20-2) tied the game with 8:32 left in regulation when senior midfielder Allie Flaherty scored unassisted.  W&L won the ensuing draw control and held the ball for the remainder of regulation.  The Generals, playing with tired legs after long weather delays forced Saturday's game against Catholic to end just shy of 9:00 pm, searched for a shot, but simply couldn't squeeze one off against a William Smith defense that ranks third in Division III.

The Blue & White fed the crease with just seconds remaining and perhaps could have drawn a foul call, but the game was destined for overtime.

In the extra session, the Generals won the draw and possessed the ball of offense, before the Herons forced a turnover.  William Smith completed the clear and junior midfielder Ali Burns found enough space to take a shot against a W&L defense that ranks second in Division III.  Her shot deflected off the hip of first-year goalkeeper Elliot Gilbert (Bedford, N.Y. / Deerfield Academy) and Tucker secured the ground ball to complete the first three minutes of overtime.

W&L won the draw for the second three minutes of overtime and possessed the ball until 1:24 remained when senior attacker Sara Holland (Houston, Texas / M.B. Lamar) fed Soutter, who placed a shot in the upper right corner of the goal to advance the Blue & White to the Final Four for the first time in program history.  It also gave W&L its 15th straight win, tying a program record.

William Smith opened an early 2-0 lead on goals by senior midfielder Alexandra Bird at 21:48 and junior midfielder Melissa Moore at 20:07 of the first half.  The Generals responded by tying the game ay 2-2 following goals by first-year attacker Collette Murray (Manhasset, N.Y. / Manhasset) at 16:54 and junior attacker Jess Castelo (Red Bank, N.J. / Lawrenceville) off an assist from Soutter at 11:16.

Flaherty gave the Herons the lead back at 3-2 with a goal at the 7:02 mark, but W&L took its first lead of the contest (4-3) with goals by junior attacker Mimi MacCowatt (New Vernon, N.J. / Kent Place) at 4:19 and senior midfielder Olivia Sisson (Great Falls, Va. / Langley) at 2:48.  William Smith knotted the score at 4-4 heading into the halftime break when junior midfielder Ali Burns picked up a loose ball in front of goal and scored just as time expired.

In a defensive battle, each team managed just 13 shots for the game, while William Smith led the ground ball battle, 15-10.  The difference was at the center circle, where W&L won 14-of-15 draws, including both in overtime.

Soutter finished with two goals and two assists, while Tucker had one goal and two helpers, to go along with eight draw controls.  Castelo added one goal and one assist.  Gilbert played all 64:36 minutes in goal and produced two saves.

Flaherty scored two goals to lead the Herons.  Senior Sarah Honan stopped five shots while playing all 64:36 in goal.

Washington and Lee will return to action against The College of New Jersey in the NCAA Semifinals on Saturday at a time to be determined.  The games will be played in Salem, Va., on the campus of Roanoke College.

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