SMITHFIELD, R.I. – After a big second half rally to force overtime, the Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team fell to the Bryant Bulldogs 13-12 in the Northeast Conference Women's Lacrosse Championship semifinals Friday at Bryant Turf Complex.
Bryant (13-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with 26:33 left in the first half as Lauren Descalzo and Lauren Britton scored 12 seconds apart. Sacred Heart got on the board with 24:41 to play in the first when Liana Doyle fed Alyssa Pearce for the Pioneers' first goal. The two teams traded goals for the next five minutes, as goals by Jenna Liljeberg and Averi Farhat made the score 4-3 with 19:52 left in the half. The Bulldogs then went on a 5-0 run to take a 9-3 lead with 9:53 to play in the first. SHU responded with a 3-0 run of its own to end the half trailing 9-6.
Sacred Heart (8-8) made its furious comeback early in the second half. After the Bulldogs scored less than 30 seconds into the second half to take a 10-6 lead, Pearce sparked a five-goal Pioneers run that gave SHU its first lead of the game, 11-10, with 12:12 to play. The junior attacker scored three goals during the run, including the go-ahead goal. Paige Hammick did her part in goal to keep Sacred Heart in front, making two crucial saves to keep the score at 11-10 with 8:56 remaining.
Bryant tied the game, 11-11, with 8:12 to play on a Catlin Brown free-position goal. With 4:12 remaining, Doyle put the Pioneers back in front 12-11 with her second goal of the day. The Bulldogs poured on the pressure, as well as did the rain, in the final minutes. Brown tied the game 12-12 with 19.3 seconds remaining on her fifth goal of the game. Bryant then won the draw control and had a chance to win, but Hammick stopped Meaghan Brennan's shot at the horn to force overtime.
The Pioneers had the first chance to win the game in overtime. Doyle cut to the crease with less than two minutes to play but her shot was stopped by Bryant goalie Samantha Santeramo. Bryant won the draw to start the second half of overtime, and with 2:03 to play Nicole Britton found Brennan on the doorstep for the game-winning goal.
Pearce had a career-high five goals for the Pioneers, as Doyle's five points and three assists were also career highs. Hammick made a career-high 15 saves in goal. Bryant outshot Sacred Heart 36-22 and had 18 draw controls to the Pioneers' 10.
Sacred Heart finishes the 2016 season with a record of 8-8.
- Calandra, Pearce, and Joseph all scored on SHU's 3-0 run to end the half.
- Bryant outshot Sacred Heart 21-11 in the half. Draw controls were even 8-8.
- Paige Hammick made seven saves in the first half, including one at the horn to keep the deficit at three.
- SHU went on a 5-0 run over 13:53 to take its first lead 11-10
- Pearce had three goals in that run as Farhat had three points on a goal and two assists.
- Pearce's fifth goal of the game was her 30th of the season.
- Doyle's go-ahead goal with 4:26 to play was her ninth of the year.