Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/10
From Press Releases
Jackie Hoover (Cheltenham) scored the game-tying goal with 1:27 left in the second half and then posted the game-winner with 1:17 left in the first three-minute overtime session, giving No. 5 West Chester a thrilling come-from-behind 9-8 victory over No. 2 Lock Haven in the NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse semifinals Saturday night.
West Chester (19-1) advances to face the winner of C.W. Post and Adelphi Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. That game will be televised live on CBS College Sports Network. Lock Haven concludes its season with a 16-2 record.
The Golden Rams remained unbeaten in national semifinal contests (8-0) and will make their eighth appearance in the national championship game in the last 10 years.
With 15:49 showing on the second-half clock and trailing by an 8-3 margin, West Chester began an improbable comeback with a pair of goals 43 seconds apart. Claire Grimwood scored unassisted, and Nicole Haines (Great Valley) converted a free position attempt to quickly draw the Golden Rams to within three (8-5).
“You could see the momentum shift from one side of the field to the other,” said West Chester head coach Ginny Martino.
West Chester’s five-goal run came after a 26-minute scoring drought in which Lock Haven built its 8-3 cushion.
“Certainly, I was worried,” Martino said. “But, we were getting opportunities. It’s when you aren’t getting good looks that you start to think maybe it will be difficult to comeback. That wasn’t the case today. We were getting off good shots.”
Freshman Lauren Glassey (Henderson) netted her 25th goal of the season with 9:19 remaining, and Gabrielle Stitz (Hatboro-Horsham) made it a one-goal game at the 5:03 mark. Hoover then completed the comeback with her 24th of the season off a turnover by Lock Haven in the Golden Rams’ end.
Lock Haven had two final opportunities in the closing moments of regulation. However, West Chester goalkeeper MacKenzie O’Keefe (Downingtown East) came up with the two biggest saves of her career to preserve the tie. She finished with 11 saves on the day.
“I just wanted to get some part of my body in front of every shot,” O’Keefe said.
The Lady Eagles went into their stall offense with just over six minutes to go. The Rams tireless defense hounded the Eagles attackers and midfielders all over the offensive zone, causing two crucial turnovers that West Chester converted into goals at the other end.
Lock Haven turned the ball over 31 times and were held in single digits in the scoring column for the first time all year against West Chester’s tenacious defense.
The Golden Rams rebounded from a slow start defensively, limiting the Lady Eagles to just two goals after halftime. Lock Haven All-America midfielder Leigh Titus scored three times in the first eight minutes of the game as the Eagles jumped out in front 3-1. Titus would add a fourth goal six minutes before halftime to put Lock Haven on top, 6-3, at the break. However, the Golden Rams’ defense locked her down in the final 36 minutes of the game.
West Chester did an excellent job all day of containing Lock Haven’s transition game and not letting the Eagles run the length of the field and take advantage of unsettled situations.
Haines finished with a pair of goals in addition to Hoover’s and Grimwood’s pair. Shannon Hayes tallied once, along with Stitz and Glassey. Katy Crouse (Boyertown) caused five turnovers, and Lauren Tatios caused three to lead the defensive charge in front of O’Keefe.
Allison Berger (Springfield-Montco) had a goal and two assists for Lock Haven.
NOTES: West Chester is now 11-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … this marks the eighth time in the last 10 years that the Golden Rams have reached the national title game … West Chester is 2-5 in the finals, winning titles in 2002 and 2008 … the Golden Rams are now 8-0 all-time in the national semifinal contest when reaching the final four … GK O’Keefe’s 11 saves marked just the second time this season that she recorded double-digit saves in a game (12 at Gannon on April 10)