May 15, 2010

Courtesy of West Chester Athletics

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Claire Grimwood scored on a free position attempt with two seconds left in the game to lift No. 5 West Chester University to a 12-11 victory over No. 3 Limestone in the first round of the NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Championships at Vonnie Gros Field on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

West Chester (18-1) advances to the national semifinals for the eighth time in the 10-year history of the tournament and will face Lock Haven (17-1) on Saturday, May 22 at Clark Field in Gettysburg, Pa. Adelphi, a 15-10 winner over Stonehill in the other first round contest, will take on C.W. Post in the other national semifinal that Saturday. The winners meet on Sunday, May 23 for the Division II women's lacrosse championship. That title game will be aired on CBS College Sports Network at 3 p.m.

Limestone (18-2) ends its season with a loss to West Chester for the second time in the last three years. The Golden Rams defeated the Saints en route to its 2008 national championship.

West Chester held possession of the ball over the final two minutes of the contest, working the ball around for an opportunity. Finally, that opportunity came with five seconds left when a Limestone defender fouled Grimwood on her drive to the cage and the Rams' junior midfielder was awarded a free position.

"I wanted everybody to have a touch and get into the flow and then go for the goal," West Chester head coach Ginny Martino said. "They did a really nice job and slowed things down. Fortunately, we got a call in our favor at the end."

Grimwood buried the shot high over the left shoulder of Limestone goalkeeper Rachelle McLellan with two ticks left and began a celebration rant in front of West Chester's sideline that would have made any professional soccer club jealous.

"It hurts to lose on a free-position," Limestone head coach Steve Tucker said. "You don't want to lose anyway. But, with five seconds left, we thought we were going into overtime when West Chester made a couple good passes and got the ball inside."

"Claire had been draining them all day," senior attacker Nicole Haines said. "I had no doubt that she was going to convert. She had an amazing game today. Of all the people, I'd rather have it in her hands to finish it."

Haines played an integral part in West Chester's three-goal comeback over a five-minute span midway through the second half. The first team All-PSAC East selection assisted on a pair of goals by Jackie Hoover and then finished off a four-goal spurt with her second tally of the afternoon that erased a 10-7 deficit and put the Golden Rams in front, 11-10.

"One spark can amp this team up and take it to the next level," Grimwood commented. "(Nicole) did a great job, and everyone else fed off of that."

"She keeps `wowing' you," Martino lauded about her senior attacker. "You can tell she's a senior because she isn't going down without a fight. She is so smart about what to do with the ball and when to do it. She has matured into her game."

Hoover finished with four goals for West Chester. Grimwood netted a hat trick and added an assist for a four-point game. Haines posted a pair of assists to go along with her two goals as well. Shannon Hayes contributed three assists to the cause, and Lauren Glassey scored twice. Devon Lotkowski scored a goal while Julia Walsh added an assist.

Chelsea Treat led Limestone with four goals, and Katie Ilot scored twice and registered three assists for a game-high five points. Renee Albro also had a hat trick.