March 21, 2009

Navy Scores with 12 Seconds to Beat Holy Cross

from press release

WORCESTER, Mass. – Freshman attack Dani Vivonetto (Rocky Point, N.Y.) came off the bench to register her second career hat trick, including the game-winner on an eight-meter attempt with just 12 seconds to play, as the Navy women’s lacrosse team used a strong second-half effort to edge Holy Cross, 10-9, on Saturday afternoon at Hart Turf Field.

The win is the Navy’s fourth in a row and third-straight on the road, improving its record to 6-1 overall on the spring and 2-0 in the Patriot League. The Crusaders, meanwhile, drop their fifth consecutive decision and fall to 2-7 and 0-2 with the loss.

“This was a great road conference win for us,” said Navy head coach Cindy Timchal. “Holy Cross is a team that is only two years removed from back-to-back league titles. They are much better than their record indicates and they really gave us a battle today. We struggled at times, but all in all, I was proud of our performance today.”

The first half saw both squads play to an even 2-2 tie through the first 12 minutes, with junior standout Erin Rawlick (Forest Hill, Md.) accounting for both Navy tallies.

Back-to-back scores from Holy Cross junior Ali Baird sparked a 3-0 run for the host Crusaders, who forged ahead 5-2 with 11:23 to play and maintained a 7-5 lead into halftime.

Vivonetto’s first of three markers stemmed the Crusaders’ run at the 7:43 mark and a pair of goals from sophomore Katrina Nietsch (New Canaan, Conn.), including one with 64 seconds left in the half, kept the Mids within striking distance and gave the team an important lift headed into the locker room.

The Mids were fortunate to keep it as close as they did over the first 30 minutes, after being outshot 16-9, losing 10-of-13 draws and committing 17 fouls to the host’s four.

In the second half, Navy came out a more focused and determined squad and it showed as the Mids reeled off four unanswered scores to open the period.

Navy would claim its first lead since the contest’s opening minutes at 8-7 on Annapolis native Caitlin Mandrin Hill’s goal at 19:31. The Mids then pushed that advantage to 9-7 as Mandrin Hill hooked up with Rawlick for her third score of the day with just 10:25 remaining in regulation.

The Crusaders battled back, cutting the deficit to one on Baird’s third of the day with 7:24 to play and then drawing even on Megan Fenton’s unassisted tally at 2:32.

With the scored tied 9-9, freshman Kierstin King (Upperco, Md.), a two-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week selection, controlled the ensuing draw and Navy worked the clock down to the closing seconds setting the table for Vivonetto’s first career game-winner.

“Dani has had a tough go at it lately as she has worked back from a foot injury,” added Timchal, who collected her NCAA-leading 355th win of her career. “She was terrific for us today and really came through and scored some crucial goals.”

Freshman Elaina Ponchione (Silver Spring, Md.) played the full 60 minutes in the cage for Navy, making seven saves, including four in the first half and four from the eight-meter arc. Ponchione also picked up two ground balls in the win.

“Elaina showed tremendous poise today,” said Timchal. “She was perfect on eight-meters and she came up with a number of big stops.”

Vivonetto and Rawlick both finished with three goals apiece to lead the Mids offensively. Nietsch, who has now scored a goal in 16 consecutive games, added three points (2 g, 1 a), while Mandrin Hill and freshman Madison Bell (Baltimore, Md.) both finished with a goal and an assist to their credit.

Next week, Navy returns home with its eye on extending the nation's second-longest home winning streak (14 gm) in a pair of contests, beginning Tuesday evening against Villanova at 6:30 pm.

Just four days later, the Mids will make their national television debut when they host preseason favorite Colgate at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in a contest that will be aired live on the CBS College Sports network, beginning at 12 noon.

Notes: Navy has now won three straight and five of its last six games on the road … the Mids are now 5-5 all-time in contests played outside Annapolis … Rawlick has now scored a goal in 24 consecutive games to begin her career.

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