May 12, 2013

Late Run Propels Trinity Past TCNJ into Final Four

from press release

Hartford, Conn. – The defending NCAA Division III Champion Trinity College Bantams are headed back to the Final Four after outscoring the visiting College of New Jersey Lions, 8-2, over the final 44:33 of a 12-7 victory in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship Quarterfinals this on Sheppard Field. Trinity improves to 20-0 with their College-record 28th consecutive win, extending its current Trinity record for wins in a season without a loss, and advances to its second NCAA Final Four at Stevenson University in Maryland next weekend. College of New Jersey, ranked No. 10 nationally ends its season at 15-5. Trinity will play Cortland State in a re-match of last spring's NCAA Semifinal match won by Trinity, 7-5. Middlebury and 2012 NCAA Runner-Up Salisbury will play in the other semifinal game, also a re-match of last year's semifinal.

Trailing, 5-4, with 14:33 left in the first half, Trinity scored three straight goals to take its first lead of the game at 6-5 and extended to 7-5 with 10:18 left before the break. Bantam first-year midfielder Martha Griffin (Exeter, N.H.) scored unassisted to tie the game at 5-5 at the 13:36 mark, and junior attacker Shea Kusiak (Longmeadow, Mass.) netted the second of her game-high four goals on a free position with 11:01 on the clock. Trinity sophomore midfielder Lindsay Mullaney (Wellesley, Mass.) completed the run 43 seconds later on another free position, and the team traded goals before the half for an 8-6 Bantam lead after 30 minutes.

Trinity senior attacker Kaitlin Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.), who had scored the final goal before intermission on a wrap-around behind the net that caromed off the stick of TCNJ junior goalie Kesley Zinck (Burke, Va.) and the pipe before landing in the goal, assisted sophomore midfielder Caroline Hayes (Greenland, N.H.) for the opening tally of the second stanza 1:13 after halftime. Kusiak scored again four minutes later, before Lion freshman Cortney Natalicchio (New Egypt, N.J.) ended a 21:54 scoring drought for the visitors from sophomore attacker Kendal Borup (Plainsboro, N.J.) while TCNJ had an extra player. The Bantam defense, led by senior tri-captain Mallory Hinman (Longmeadow, Mass.), senior Hillary McNamara (Milton, Mass.), and juniors Midge Daniel (Wellesley, Mass.) and Lyndsey Shepard (Hamilton, Mass.) held the Lions scoreless the rest of the way. Bantam first-year goalie Emily Mooney (New York, N.Y.) was stellar in a relief role, saving three of the five shots on goal she faced in 44:33 of play, including a late stop from point-blank range against Lion junior attacker Jen Garavante (Monroe, N.J.) in the final 10 minutes. Kusiak and Hildebrand scored insurance goals for the only goals of the game's final 15 minutes.

The College of New Jersey offense had gotten off to a fast start, scoring five times in the first 15:27 of play, but Trinity answered each Lion goal with a score of their own. Borup opened the scoring 2:23 into the game on a free-position shot that was answered by a scoring drive through traffic by Hayes 1:17 later. The teams continued that trend four more times, before Kusiak's second goal gave Trinity the lead for good.

"College of New Jersey came out aggressive and took advantage of our fouls to score on free positions, but offensively we were able to match them every time until we were able to make an adjustment defensively," said Trinity Head Coach Kate Livesay (7th Season). "We did a much better job on defense once we had the lead. We made some big saves and controlled possession of the ball, and Shea Kusiak was a star for us out there today."

Trinity outshot TCNJ, 23-13, held a 15-6 ground-ball advantage, won 12 of 21 draw controls, and forced 15 turnovers while committing just 10. College of New Jersey took advantage of 28 Trinity fouls and scored twice each on free positions and extra-player opportunities. Kusiak added an assist and a game-high three caused turnovers to her four goals, while Hildebrand finished with a hat trick plus an assist, Hayes scored twice, and Griffin had a goal, an assist, and a team-high three draw controls. Borup had two goals and one assists, while Natalicchio scored twice, and Garavente added one goal and one assist for the Lion offense. Junior Lauren Pigott (Jobstown, N.J.) collected two ground balls, two draw controls, and two caused turnovers, while sophomore midfielder Lauren Karpovich (Marlton, N.J.) had a game-high four draw controls, and Zinck made seven saves.

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