May 7, 2011

Ducks Sail Past RIT, to Play for E8 Crown

from press release

– Junior Michelle Buonacuore had four goals and two assists and a stingy defense held fourth-seeded Rochester Institute of Technology to just one second-half goal as the No. 1 seed Stevens Institute of Technology women's lacrosse team advanced to the conference title game with a 15-6 win on Saturday at the De Baun Athletic Complex in Hoboken, N.J. in an Empire 8 Women's Lacrosse Championship semifinal. Stevens improves to 14-3 overall and will take on third-seeded Ithaca College for the Empire 8 title and automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship. Ithaca downed second-seeded Nazareth College, 15-4.

Stevens had big games from a number of players in addition to Buonacuore. Junior Jenna Scheibling finished with four points on three goals and one assist, and senior Pamela Loria had three goals. Senior Leah Wasserman had one goal and one assist, while sophomore Joey Galligan had two goals, three ground balls, two caused turnovers, and one draw control. Sophomore Spencer Waybright finished with three ground balls, three draw controls, and two points (one goal, one assist), while senior Christine Smith had one assist, three ground balls, three draw controls, and two caused turnovers.

Senior Kate Cox paced the Stevens defense with four caused turnovers, four ground balls, and one goal, while junior Ashley Carey had two caused turnovers, three draw controls, and one ground ball.

The Ducks ended with a 34-26 edge in shots and a 19-13 ground ball advantage. Stevens won 19 of the 32 draw controls and connected on 4-of-6 free-position attempts. The Tigers (6-11) were 1-for-7 on their free-position attempts.

Freshman Melanie Welcome earned the win in goal for Stevens making four saves in each half. RIT goalie Katelyn Crane (Palmyra, N.Y.) made 11 stops. The Tigers were led by two goals apiece from junior Rebecca Lamson (Penn Yan, N.Y.) and sophomore Loren Azlein (Cleveland, Ohio). The Ducks' "D" held standout Shelby Vakiener (Fairport, N.Y.) to no goals and one assist. Vakiener came into the game with 57 goals and 27 assists.

After the Tigers scored the game's first goal, Galligan, Waybright, Scheibling, and Buonacuore all tallied to put the Ducks up 4-1 with 15:53 to play in the first. The two teams traded scores to make it 5-3 Ducks with 14:13 on the clock but back-to-back scores from Scheibling and Buonacuore pushed the margin back to four with 12:27 left in the first half.

The Tigers were able to end the half with two of the final three scores to make it an 8-5 contest at the break but the Ducks came out strong in the second period, tallying four-straight goals to take a 12-5 lead with 16:25 on the clock. Loria scored twice in the run that essentially put the game away.

Azlein ended the Duck run, but Wasserman, Buonacuore and Cox scored down the stretch for the final margin.

Stevens has now won its last three conference tournament games and is 9-0 against Empire 8 teams in 2011. The Ducks, who defeated Ithaca in an 11-10 thriller on April 9, have won 18 of their last 19 games against conference foes dating back to last year with their only loss coming at the hands of the Bombers in the 2010 regular season.

Game time for Sunday's title game is 1 p.m. and all the action will be webcast live from the De Baun Athletic Complex.

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