SALEM, Va. — First-year midfielder Alexandria Fitzpatrick scored with 4.7 seconds remaining in the first half of the second overtime, as The College of New Jersey, the nation's top-ranked team, defeated the second-ranked Washington and Lee women's lacrosse team, 5-4, on Saturday at Kerr Stadium in the NCAA Semifinals.
The Lions (19-1) controlled the ball for the entirety of the second extra frame, and were awarded a free position shot with 14 seconds on the clock. Senior attacker Mia Blackman attempted the shot, but it missed wide right.
Junior midfielder Amanda Muller corralled the rebound, and flipped it to Fitzpatrick on the right side with the clock winding down. Muller fired the ball into the opposite side of the cage to send TCNJ to the championship game.
The Generals (19-2) held a 2-1 lead at halftime, and then stretched the advantage to 3-1 with 18:20 left in the game. Senior attacker Sara Holland (Houston, Texas/M.B. Lamar) had the ball behind the goal and found senior midfielder Maggie Waxter (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park) on the left side. Waxter charged the cage and fired a shot just outside the eight-meter arc for the tally.
The Lions answered with three straight goals over the next 14:04 to take their first lead of the contest, 4-3. Blackman notched the first off a pass from first-year attacker Olivia Cleale at 15:15, and then sophomore midfielder Erin Harvey tied the game on a free position shot with 7:45 remaining in the contest. Muller then gave TCNJ the lead on a goal with 4:16 left in the game.
With time winding down in the second half, the Lions attempted to run the clock out. TCNJ was moving the ball around on offense, but first-year goalkeeper Elliot Gilbert (Bedford, N.Y./Deerfield Academy) stepped in front of a pass to cause a turnover and give W&L the chance to tie.
After successfully clearing the ball, senior attacker Hayley Soutter (McLean, Va./Langley) passed it to Holland on the right side. Holland cut to the center of the arc and found the back of the cage to tie the game, 4-4, with 47 seconds left on the clock.
After winning the ensuing draw control, the Blue and White had one final opportunity in regulation. Soutter released a shot in the center of the arc, despite a heavy dose of contact, but the ball sailed high to send the game to overtime.
In the first extra session, TCNJ had the first opportunity but Gilbert was up for the challenge, recording her seventh save of the game. W&L had possession in the second half of the overtime, but a turnover ended the Generals' scoring threat, leading to the dramatic finish in the second extra session.
Holland led the team with two goals and one assist, while sophomore midfielder Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine's) and Waxter each had one tally. Soutter and junior attacker Jess Castelo (Red Bank, N.J./Lawrenceville) each added one assist. Junior defender Riley Garcia (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) led the team with four caused turnovers, and senior midfielder Olivia Sisson (Great Falls, Va./Langley) led the squad with four draw controls.
The Lions had five different players score their goals, but Muller and Cleale each had a goal and an assist. Muller also had a team-best three ground balls, and sophomore defender Brooke Lionetti totaled three draw controls.
In what might have been her best game of the season, Gilbert stopped seven shots in 68:56 of action. Her counterpart, sophomore Miranda Chrone, made three saves in 68:56.
W&L set a new program record for victories this year with 19, and it was the first time the team advanced to the NCAA Semifinals. This concludes the 2017 season for the W&L women's lacrosse team.
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