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Women's Lacrosse Earns a Tough 8-6 NCAA Win over Stevens

May 17, 2023
Women's Lacrosse Game

The York College women's lacrosse team used a gritty team effort to outlast Stevens 8-6 in the second round of the 2023 NCAA Division III Tournament on Sunday in York. The game featured the two MAC champions as the Spartans won their second straight Commonwealth title while the Ducks captured the Freedom title last week. The Spartans advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019 when they downed St. John Fisher, 14-11. The Sweet 16 appearance will be the sixth in school history for the Green and White. The Spartans, who entered the game ranked tenth in the country, improve to 17-3 overall as they tie the school record for wins in a season. The Ducks, who began the game ranked 20th in the nation, see their fantastic campaign come to a close with a mark of 18-3. The Spartans have won a season-high nine straight including six in-a-row at home.
How It Happened
• The game started with the defenses dominating the opening eight minutes of the game. The contest was scoreless until Gianna Huet broke the ice with her 23rd goal of the year with 6:05 remaining in the first. The Ducks tied the game with a Zoe Cook player advantage goal with just 27 seconds left in the quarter. The teams combined for 11 first quarter turnovers as it took a while for the teams to settle in.  
• The teams continued to alternate goals in the second quarter, but again, the scoring came late in the period. Natalie Neiman notched an unassisted goal with 4:59 left in the half to put York up one. The Ducks got another player-up goal as Camryn Rogers found the back of the cage for her 82nd goal of the year with 2:18 remaining in the quarter. York's Kiersten Blanchard put York back on top with an unassisted goal at the 1:11 mark. Little did anyone know that there would be two more goals in the quarter as Emily Leiby tied the game with her 28th goal of the year with just 19 seconds left in the half. The Ducks won the ensuing draw but two Stevens players collided and Blanchard scooped up the loose ball and she drove to the cage, scoring with just 0.5 seconds left on the clock for the 4-3 halftime lead.
• The Ducks tied the game at four on an Alison Lax goal 2:57 into the second half. York took the lead for good as Blanchard found Teresa Matthias with a great pass and Matthias notched her 33rd goal of the year with 9:10 left in the quarter. Madison Kurland gave York a 6-4 lead on a nifty unassisted goal with 7:07 remaining in the third. Cook recorded her second player-up goal and the third of the game for Stevens, trimming the York lead to 6-5 with just 1:19 left in the period.
• Blanchard gave York a little more breathing room to start the fourth with a free position goal, giving York a 7-5 lead. Huet extended the lead to 8-5 with her second goal of the day, 1:26 after Blanchard's goal. The Ducks got the final goal of the game as Rogers tallied her 83rd goal with 9:17 left in the game.
• The final nine minutes of the game featured just three total shots (two for York and one for Stevens) and nine combined turnovers (four for York and five for Stevens). The Spartans finished the game out-shooting the Ducks 29-17 including 19-12 in shots on goal. York won ten of the 17 draw controls while York forced 21 Stevens turnovers.
Spartan Leaders
Kiersten Blanchard: 3 goals, 1 assist, 3 ground balls, 1 caused turnover, 2 draws
Gianna Huet: 2 goals, 1 ground ball
Christina Vendelis: 4 draws, 2 caused turnovers, 1 ground ball
Sydney Mentzer: 4 draws, 3 ground balls, 2 caused turnovers
Emmy Bryden: 3 caused turnovers, 5 ground balls
Sarah Christensen: 3 caused turnovers, 3 ground balls
Spartan Goaltending
Bella Garabo: 60:00 minutes played, 6 goals against, 6 saves, Win 16-3
Spartan Notes
York earned their second win this year over Stevens as the two teams squared off in the regular season as the Spartans rolled to a 20-8 win at Kinsley Field … the Spartans are now 4-1 all-time against the Ducks and have won two straight in the series … York finishes 11-1 at home, their best mark since going 9-0 at Kinsley Field during the 2013 season … the only other Spartan team to win double figures in home games during a season was the 2017 squad that went 10-1 at home … York has now tied the 2017 squad for wins in a season with 17 … that squad went 17-6 and advanced to the Elite Eight before falling at Trinity (Conn.) … the Spartans are now 12-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … the NCAA Tournament appearance is York's tenth in school history … the Spartans have won at least one tournament game in eight of their ten appearances … the meeting between the Spartans and Ducks are the first time they have faced off in an NCAA Tournament game … York improves to 8-1 at Kinsley Field in NCAA Tournament games … the Spartans were held to single digits in goals for just the third time this year and the win is the first when scoring less than ten … York handed the Ducks two of their three losses for the year … York was just 1-for-8 in free position chances, their worst mark of the year … Stevens goalie Lauren Cunniff was outstanding in goal for the Ducks as she registered 11 saves which was a much different story from the first time these teams met in March as she allowed ten goals with four saves in 20:31 of action in that game … the Spartans have not allowed double digits in goals in their last nine games … York is allowing just 4.78 goals per game over their nine game win streak … York reached double figures in caused turnovers (12) for the 11th time this year … York had 24 ground balls which is their second highest total of the year (25 vs. Messiah on April 1) … senior Emmy Bryden tied her career-high with her three caused turnovers … senior Sarah Christensen also tied her career-high in caused turnovers with three … Kiersten Blanchard now has 12 points on seven goals and five assists in three career NCAA Tournament games.
Up Next
The Spartans will face a familiar foe next Saturday, May 20 in the Sweet 16 as York squares off against #4 Salisbury for the right to get to the national quarterfinals. The site and game times will be announced by the NCAA on Monday morning.

This story originally appeared on www.ycpspartans.com.