March 10, 2012

Dramatic Rally Lifts Wagner Over Liberty

from press release

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In a wild back and forth game that featured nine lead changes and nine ties, Wagner overcame an 11-9 deficit with two goals in the final 1:15 to force overtime and then went ahead to stay with 3:15 left in OT on a goal by sophomore attacker Sam Morin (Rockville Center, NY/ South Side) off an assist by senior midfielder Melanie Garces (San Diego, CA/ Westview) to survive a 12-11 thriller over Liberty as the Seahawks notched their third straight win.

The three-game winning streak evens Wagner’s record at 3-3 on the season while the Flames, who were fresh off a 19-14 win at LIU-Brooklyn on Thursday, fell to 1-4 on the year. A physical contest that featured a combined 87 fouls, the game also included a combined six yellow cards, four on Wagner and two called on Liberty.

With Wagner down by that 11-9 margin and just 90 seconds left in regulation, the Seahawks and Flames engaged in a wild scrum in front of the net. Freshman attacker Jessica Mills (Vernon Township, NJ/ Vernon) fired a point-blank shot which ricocheted off of Liberty goalie Kristen Masullo at the 1:16 mark. Morin scooped up the rebound in traffic and rifled home a goal at 1:15 to make it an 11-10 game.

With 46 seconds left, freshman midfielder Megan Sardella (Liverpool, NY/ Liverpool) caused a turnover to break up a Liberty clear attempt. A yellow card on Liberty’s Cammille Little three seconds later gave the Seahawks a man-up advantage and Wagner took advantage with the equalizer coming on a Garces laser off a feed from Millswith 22 seconds remaining. Morin had a chance for a last-second game-winner but Masullo came up with the save, forcing overtime.

Mills enjoyed a breakout game. Prior to the assist on the Garces goal that forced OT,  the frosh came up with two huge back-to-back goals, the first with 11:27 left off a Morin assist that tied the game at 7-7 and the next at 10:36 that again knotted the score, this time at 8-8.

This was a particularly gritty effort by the Seahawks especially in light of the fact that Wagner was forced to play without two of its top playmakers in crunch time in junior attacker Erika Bulken (Baldwinsville, NY/ C.W. Baker) and senior midfielder Lauren Petrik (Baldwinsville, NY/ C.W. Baker). The Seahawks survived the final 26:24 without Bulken who left the game following her second yellow card at the 20:24 mark of the second half. Petrik, meanwhile, took a permanent seat on the bench after being whistled for her second yellow card with 6:11 to go. Factoring in the six-minute overtime session, Wagner was able to pull out the win minus Bulken and Petrik for the final 12:11 of the contest.

Morin paced the Seahawks offensively with four points on three goals and one assist. Other offensive stalwarts for Wagner included Garces (two goals, two assists), Bulken and Mills, who had two goals and one assist apiece, along with senior attacker Carolyn Clark (Syracuse, NY/ Westhill) who tallied goals. Petrikled the Seahawks with five draw controls in addition to an assist and a caused turnover.

With Wagner trailing 5-4 at halftime, sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Roach (Syracuse, NY/ Westhill) was inserted into the game at the beginning of the third quarter in place of freshman starter Shannon Sweeney (Madison, NJ/ Madison) and went on to record nine saves in 36 minutes of action to help key the Seahawk victory.

Liberty was led by Morgan Becker’s five points which came on three goals and two assists to go with her game-high eight draw controls. Also scoring three goals for the Flames was Kristen Crowley while Nina Dunay and Amber Nichols knocked home two goals apiece. In goal, Masullo stopped 13 shots while playing the entire 66 minutes.

Overall, Wagner held a 34-28 edge in shots and a 16-10 advantage in draw controls while Liberty led in the ground ball department, 25-18.

The Seahawks now head south for Spring Break, meeting Howard University in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 13. Wagner will then venture further south to play Presbyterian College in a neutral site game that will be played in Newport News, VA on the campus of Christopher Newport University on Sunday, March 18 at Noon.

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