Lacrosse settles for tie with Niagara

Fans relish the opportunity to see games enter sudden death, as drama is likely to ensue.

(Deadria Clarke)
(Deadria Clarke) Junior forward Rachel DerCola (12) battles for a loose ball during the Knights' 20-9 win over I-79 rival Edinboro University, Friday.

However, Gannon University women’s lacrosse team’s 12-12 draw with Division I opponent Niagara University lacked just that.

After three overtime periods – two being sudden death – neither team was able to separate from the other before the referees decided to call the game.

Coach Steve Wagner, who claims that Tuesday’s tie was the first of his career, said that Gannon deserves the credit for the Purple Eagles’ comeback.

“We made bad decisions throughout the game and played very badly,” he said. “We’re an undisciplined team.”

Overtime, let alone a tie, was the last thing on the Knights’ mind as time ticked away in the second half with Gannon protecting a four-goal lead with less than four minutes to go.

It was then that Niagara mounted a comeback worthy of airplay on ESPN Classic as they effectively erased an 11-7 deficit.

Niagara’s Fran Pollastro would lead the late rally by scoring her 11th and 12th goals of the season in a little more than a two-minute span.

Despite the flurry, the Knights looked as though they were set to maintain the lead until a goal by Niagara’s Lauren Bowen with five seconds left knotted the score.

According to Wagner, it was the Knights’ insistence on playing aggressive offensively that eventually came back to bite them.

“We went into the stall and kept shooting,” he said. “You can’t shoot when you’re in the stall. We never should have seen those shots at the end of the game.”

The Knights looked to grab the momentum back in the first overtime period as sophomore attacker Caitlyn Fisher broke the deadlock by scoring her second goal of the game and 11th of the season.

Fisher would add three assists to tie her with Pollastro as the game-leader in points.

While the Niagara defense stalled Gannon in the second overtime, the Purple Eagles scored the last goal of the match of the net with one minute remaining.

“We shot 46 times and didn’t convert,” Wagner said. “They weren’t moving for each other. We went into more of an individual offense – we have to get our feeding game going.”

After two sudden death overtime periods, the game was called as the snow began fall hard on the playing field.

Senior Mary Eshenour, junior Sarah Grzybinski, sophomore Jess Fugate and junior Rachel DerCola – who turned 21 Tuesday – found their way to the scoring column. Eshenour, who is on pace to set a career high in goals, now has 30 on the season.

Even though the contest proved to be an intense back-and-forth affair, the result will have little impact on either team as games against Division I or Division III teams are not considered in playoff selections for the Knights.

Although being unable to come away with the victory against the Division I Purple Eagles, Gannon faired better against I-79 rival Edinboro University in its 20-9 win Saturday. Eshenour and Fugate led the scoring with five goals apiece.

“We went one-on-one for the game and that worked,” Wagner said. “We rode hard and played smart.”

The victory served as the second time this season that the Knights reached the 20-goal mark in a single game and sixth Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference regular season win in a row dating back to last year.

Gannon will get back to PSAC play Friday as the team travels to West Chester (Pa.) University to battle the Golden Rams at 4 p.m.


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