April 19, 2014

Sagehens Win In Sudden Death To Take SCIAC's Top Seed

Redlands, Calif. - Sophomore midfielder Ally McLaughlin scored on a free position shot with five seconds left in the second overtime to force the game into sudden death and freshman attacker Rebecca Long (pictured) scored the game-winner as the Pomona-Pitzer Women's Lacrosse team won a thrilling 14-13 decision over Redlands on Saturday evening to earn the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament.

The win was the eighth in a row for the Sagehens and improve their record to 15-3 overall and 8-2 in the SCIAC. Redlands falls to 8-2 in the SCIAC, as Pomona-Pitzer, Redlands and Occidental end the regular season in a three-way tie for first (and all 2-2 against each other). The tiebreaker for the top seed comes down to head-to-head goal differential amongst the tied teams, and Pomona-Pitzer earns that tiebreaker based on its +2 goal differential in its four games against the two teams its tied with (Redlands is even in goal differential and Occidental is -2).

After McLaughlin tied the score, Redlands won the draw control to start sudden death and kept the ball for the entire first three-minute segment. The Bulldogs earned a free position shot with just four seconds left, but freshman goalie Gaby Fukumura came up with a big save to stop Stephanie Garrett and prolonging the game.

The teams switched ends and went to another draw control, and this time the Sagehens were able to get possession, as Katie Savino came away with the ball and drew a foul. Redlands pressured the ball deep into Pomona-Pitzer's end, but the Sagehens were able to break the pressure up the right sideline. Long then took a pass in the middle of the field, faked a shot and ducked into the middle, where she was able to beat Redlands goalie Gigja Hollyday and end the game 14-13.

The Sagehens led 12-7 with 10 minutes left in regulation, but Redlands stormed back to tie the game up in the final minute and then led 13-12 after the first three-minute extra session. Pomona-Pitzer was forced to play down a man at the end of the second three-minute overtime session due to a yellow card, and Redlands had possession in their offensive end in the final minute with a chance to kill the clock. However, the Sagehens earned a turnover as freshman midfielder Hannah Christenson picked up a ground ball in traffic.

After a pair of Redlands fouls at the other end, Pomona-Pitzer earned a free position attempt from straight on with less than 10 seconds left. McLaughlin ca converted past Hollyday to knot the score up 13-13 and force the game into sudden death.

Redlands jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the game's first eight minutes, but the Sagehens rattled off the next five goals in a row to take the lead, with sophomore attacker Aubrey Douglass picking up two goals and an assist during the span. After Douglass tied it 4-4 off a Long feed with 14:29 left in the first half, senior attacker Jana London gave Pomona-Pitzer its first lead at 5-4 with a goal at the 10:05 mark.

Redlands tied the score 5-5 at the half, but the Sagehens scored the first five goals of the second half to take a 10-5 lead, capping a 10-1 run. London and Christenson each had two goals during the run, with London's capping it off with 17:14 to play. The teams then traded goals for several minutes, with London scoring her fourth to make it 12-7 with 12:16 left.

Jacky Craycraft, though, scored three goals in a row for Redlands (9:12, 6:52, 5:22) and Ellen Holt made it 12-11 with 3:44 to go. Savino won the ensuing draw control for the Sagehens, but they turned it over with just under 2:00 left, and Stephanie Garrett tied it with 49 seconds to play. Fukumura came up with a save with 20 seconds left to keep the score tied, and Savino picked up a ground ball in traffic to help the Sagehens get to overtime.

London had four goals and Long finished with three goals and two assists for Pomona-Pitzer, while Douglass added a hat trick and had an assist as well.

As the top seed in the tournament, Pomona-Pitzer will host a semifinal game on Saturday, facing the winner of the opening round game on Wednesday between Chapman and CMS. The winner of that game will move on to the championship next Saturday (May 3).