Merchant Marine Clips Women’s Lacrosse, 8-7, in Physical Seesaw Battle

Nina Fazio

KINGS POINT, N.Y. – In a physical and heated seesaw affair that featured four ties and two lead changes as well as six yellow cards, the United States Merchant Marine Academy rallied late to earn an 8-7 victory over Connecticut College in non-conference women's lacrosse action on Tuesday evening at Brooks Stadium.

USMMA (3-0) scored the first goal of the game when Maura Malone converted a free position attempt after breaking up a clear attempt less than two minutes into the game, but the Camels responded by getting an unassisted marker from senior captain Jamie Navoni (Natick, Mass.) shortly afterwards.

A defensive battle ensued, as neither side was able to find the back of the net for more than 16 minutes. Junior Kate Bermingham (Amherst, N.H.) had a great look from point-blank range when she was fed a pass from behind the net by Navoni with 9:25 on the clock, but her shot was stopped Hannah Gizzi. The Mariners then converted with 6:02 and 4:35 remaining and carried a narrow 3-2 lead into the recess.

The teams continued trading goals over the first 10 minutes of the second half. Connecticut College, however, rattled off a string of three unanswered markers. Bermingham put the Camels ahead for the first time by finishing a pass from junior Clara Bisson (Sudbury, Mass.) at 14:47.

Even though the Mariners were able to knot the game at 6-all, the Camels gained several chances to regain the lead by earning a multitude of free position opportunities. After Navoni hit the post on a free position, the Camels finally came through with a go-ahead goal with 6:30 to play when junior Julia Loesch (Charlotte, N.C.) picked up a ground ball on a USMMA failed clear attempt and found classmate Meghan Corcoran (West Hartford, Conn.) for her first strike of the contest.

Despite trailing 7-6 in the waning minutes, the Mariners tied the game up for the fourth time at 7s thanks to getting a free position goal from Meredith Willard and then won the ensuing draw to give themselves a chance to retake the lead they had for most of the second half. Sophomore netminder Nina Fazio (East Longmeadow, Mass.) made a key save off another Willard free position attempt with 3:17 to keep the game tied, but the hosts maintained possession and were able to score with 2:25 left when Jessica Reilly weaved her way through several Camel defenders and fired the ball home to complete a hat trick.

Corcoran had another chance to tie the game for a fifth time when she was awarded a free position shot with only 1:12 remaining in regulation. Her low shot, however, was unsuccessful and the ball was picked up by the Mariners' Maggie Schmidt. The junior raced down the field to successfully clear the ball, and without the shot clock to worry about, the Mariners were able to pass around and maintain possession until the final horn.

In addition to registering a hat trick and tallying the game-winning goal, Reilly also picked up five ground balls and caused two turnovers to lead the way for the Mariners. Willard and Malone scored two goals apiece, while Willard also had five ground balls. Gizzi made nine saves between the posts.

Senior Jackie Cooney (San Rafael, Calif.) paced a defense which held an opponent to under 10 goals for the second time in four games by picking up four ground balls and causing three turnovers. Both marks were team bests for Connecticut College, which had a 24-23 edge in ground balls and won nine of the 17 draw controls. Navoni scored two goals, and Loesch and Bisson each recorded a goal and an assist. Fazio turned away eight shots.

Connecticut College (1-3) returns to NESCAC action when it visits Williams on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m.