BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. – Senior Michelle Phillips scored four goals in the first half and junior Brittany Brigandi tallied four times in the second half to lead second-ranked Le Moyne to an 18-9 win against fifth-ranked Dowling in the first round of the NCAA championships.
The Golden Lions opened the game’s scoring 2:39 into the game as Brooke Witkowski came around the right side of the goal from behind to record her 42nd goal of the season.
Le Moyne rattled off four straight goals in a span of 10:02 to take the lead. Brigandi got the Dolphins on the scoreboard at the 26:42 mark off a free-position shot. Three and one-half minutes later, freshman Victoria Nies gave the Dolphins the lead with a free-position goal. Phillips then scored a pair of unassisted goals in a span of 1:07 for a 4-1 lead.
The teams then traded goals over the next six and one-half minutes. Cassandra Cronin scored at the 15:35 and 10:59 marks, while Phillips scored with 15 minutes left and 8:51 remaining in the half. Nicolle Moran closed out the scoring in the half off a pass from Kimberly Harrington with 5:25 left.
Kelly Cefalu trimmed Le Moyne’s lead to 6-5 18 seconds into the second half with an unassisted tally.
The Dolphins extended their lead to 9-6 with 23:25 remaining in the game. Brigandi had back-to-back bounce shots off curls from the left side, while senior Mia Valletta) grabbed a rebound off a shot off the pipe and put the ball into the back of the net with 23:25 left.
The teams traded the game’s next seven goals to make the score 12-9 with 11:24 left. Cefalu started the scoring off a free-position shot with 22:51 to go, while Moran followed with a drive from the left side and a shot from the right edge of the crease with 19:26 left. Sophomore Brenna Bauer put the Dolphins back in front by three with a curl from the left side with 17:41 remaining, while senior Rebekah Elmer scored after a drive from the top at the 15:42 mark. Moran tallied her third goal of the contest off a free-position shot, with Brigandi then scoring off a pass from sophomore Kelly Condon with 13:27 left. Dowling’s final goal came off the stick of Cronin with 11:24 remaining.
Le Moyne put the game away with six goals over the final 10:03 of the contest. Senior Nerissa Barzee started the run with a free-position goal, while Condon followed 39 seconds later with a curl from the left side of the goal. Senior defender Katlin Walker then went coast-to-coast for her 10th goal of season at the 8:11 mark. Valletta scored off a restart with a drive from the top for her 34th tally of the campaign. Elmer weaved from the top with 5:31 to go to net her 48th goal of the season, while Brigandi capped the scoring in the game with 2:25 left off a pass from Bauer.
Junior goalkeeper Kelly Fucillo posted nine saves, including five in the first half, for her 18th win of the year. Rachael Goldstein made three saves in the first half in suffering the loss for the Golden Lions.
Le Moyne, which set a program record for wins in a season, takes on top-ranked Adelphi in the NCAA Semifinals on Saturday.