February 18, 2011

Navy Women Rally to Nip Ohio State

from press release

Navy midfielder Kathy Young evades Ohio State defender Maghan Beaudrault (2g) during the Mids' 9-8 victory Friday.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy (2-0) fought back from a late game deficit to edge out Ohio State (0-2), 9-8, in tightly-contested women's lacrosse game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Friday evening. Navy overcame an early 6-3 deficit and also fought back again after trailing 8-7 late in the second half.

"We struggled with the high quality of play that Ohio State demonstrated throughout the whole game and they pushed us to the limit," said head coach Cindy Timchal. "But I am so proud of the way we responded and came back in the second half. I'm really happy for our players, who stepped up and had the courage and the confidence to really pull it through in the end."

Ohio State led 8-7 with 12 minutes to go, but Navy shut down the Buckeyes offense and got timely goals from sophomore Jasmine DePompeo and senior Katrina Nietsch to secure the come-from-behind win. DePompeo netted her second goal of the game with 12 minutes to go to knot the score at 8-8. Nietsch then made an impressive individual effort to fight through Ohio State's defense to tally the eventual game-winner with 8:38 remaining on the clock.

The Mids then relied on their defense and the goaltending of junior Elaina Ponchione to keep the Buckeyes off the board. Ponchione, who set a new school record with 15 saves, faced a barrage of shots by Ohio State in the closing seconds of the game, but two were wide and Ponchione made a huge save on a Gabby Capuzzi shot with only five seconds to go in the game.

"I was telling myself to just 'be patient, see the ball and make the save,' " said Ponchione. "I was just trying to be ready for it and I reacted when I saw it coming and I saw I had good angle on it. I knew if I could just make that save, that would be the game and the defense would take care of it after that."

For the second game this season Ponchione has been flawless on opponents' free-position attempts. The goalie held Ohio State to a 0-4 night from the eight-meter arc and also scooped up five ground balls. Ponchione was solid early in the game as well as the Mids jumped out to a 3-1 lead after seven minutes. Ponchione had three saves in the first five minutes and 12 in the half.

The Mids took the early 1-0 lead on a goal from senior captain Caitlin Mandrin Hill and then after an Ohio State answer, posted back-to-back goals from freshman Aimee Gennaro and DePompeo. DePompeo took advantage of Ohio State's goalie not securing a save and lunged to pick up the ground ball in front of the net and then slammed it home.

The Buckeyes then proved why they spent the majority of the 2010 season ranked in the top-20 by turning the tide and going on a 5-0 spurt of their own to establish a 6-3 first-half lead.

With a little over a minute remaining in the first half, Navy got an important goal from freshman Molly Hamilton off an assist from DePompeo to cut the halftime deficit to a more manageable 6-4.

"As you do in big games like this, we grew as a team at halftime," Timchal said. "We made a decision to come out and play all the way through the game. We didn't want to worry about what the scoreboard said. We just wanted to play as hard as we could."

The Mids used that determination to rip off three straight goals to start the second half to reclaim the lead at 7-6. Gennaro scored her second of the game on a free position attempt and then sophomore Beth Young notched her first goal of the season, also on a free position, to tie the game at 6-6.

A few minutes later it seemed DePompeo would strike for another goal as she moved in for a shot but the ball deflected off the cross bar. Hamilton then snuck in for an opportunistic ground ball and quickly moved it past Ohio State's goalie to put Navy up, 7-6.

Ohio State responded with back-to-back goals from Brittney Zerhusen and Capuzzi to grab an 8-7 lead. That set the stage for DePompeo's and Nietsch's late-game heroics. Nietsch's game-winner goal was the 100th career goal of her illustrious four-year career. The New Canaan, Conn. native now has 132 career points on 100 goals and 32 assists. Nietsch also added four caused turnovers in the contest.

Mandrin Hill added four ground balls and four draw controls to her first-half tally.

Ohio State outshot Navy, 30-23 in the game, including 21-9 in the first half.

Navy will next host Davidson at 12 noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.


*Ponchione broke the single game save record that she had previously held with 14 saves, along with Natalie Blandon.

*Nietsch is the second Midshipmen in program history to score 100 career goals. The other is Erin Rawlick (199).

*Navy opponents are 0-11 on free position shots this season.

*The Mids improve their all-time record at home to 32-4.

*Both of Ohio State's losses this season came to 2010 NCAA Tournament teams (other loss was to Duke).

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