Last-minute goal lifts Montclair State
Delfini scores five goals including final minute game-winner
MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Senior midfielder Cora Delfini scored five goals, including the game-winner with 39 seconds remaining and also forced a turnover to thwart a last-second attempt by York College as Montclair State slipped past the Spartans 14-13 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship at Sprague Field.
Junior attack Kailee Beal scored four times as the Red Hawks bounced back after squandering a six-goal first-half lead to advance to the second round for only the second time in school history.
The Red Hawks are making their fifth NCAA tournament appearance overall after capturing the Skyline Conference Championship on April 28. MSU was also hosting just its second NCAA contest and first since 2007 when it defeated Eastern Connecticut, 17-7.
Sophomore attack Erica Mulford scored six goals and added two assists as York, making its first NCAA tournament appearance, finished its season at 14-5. The Spartans earned their way into the field of 61 as one of the eight at-large selections.
Montclair State led 10-4 with three minutes to go in the first half before York went on a seven-goal run to erase the deficit and take its first lead at 11-10 since the opening score of the game. Delfini regained the lead for the Red Hawks as she scored twice in an 11-second span, the second coming with 16:18 left for a 12-11 MSU lead.
Kim Wayson set up Leah Schultz for a goal less than two minutes later as the game was deadlocked at 12-12 with 14 minutes remaining.
Mulford’s final goal with 5:49 to go put the Spartans back on top however Beal collected her 63rd of the season on an unassisted tally with 3:26 left as Montclair forged the third tie of the final 16-plus minutes.
Montclair gained possession off the ensuing draw and had a chance to take the lead but goalkeeper Tina Nicklas made a save off a free position attempt. MSU picked up the loose ball to regain control with 2:42 remaining and ran off two minutes however a turnover gave the ball back to York with 47 ticks left.
Following a timeout by the Spartans, Jordan Hall tried to clear the ball from the right corner. Delfini intercepted the pass 20 yards from the cage and raced in before flicking a shot past Nicklas putting Montclair State in front 14-13.
The Spartans still had a chance as Schultz pulled in her seventh draw of the game as York then got a break as Montclair was issued a yellow card which put the Red Hawks down a player. After moving the ball around, Kerri Nicolich tried to feed the ball into the middle but her pass was knocked away by Delfini, who then scooped up the ground ball and ran out the clock as Montclair State held on for the one-goal victory.
York took a 1-0 lead 42 seconds into the game as Mulford scored off a free-position attempt however MSU scored four in a row, the last coming from Jenna Bussieri as Montclair led 4-1. The lead grew to 6-2 before Mulford and Wayson scored less than a minute apart cutting the lead to 6-4.
Tierney Conlon began the Montclair State four-goal run and Beal had two in the spurt as the Red Hawks boosted their advantage to 10-4 with 2:52 remaining. Mulford and Schultz scored before the half as the Spartans closed the gap to 10-6 at halftime. Wayson netted two of her three goals, the second coming with 23:39 to go in the game as the Spartans tied the game at 10-10.
Conlon finished with two goals and three assists as she added to her single-season record for points pushing her total to 114. Delfini had four draws and six ground balls while Kelly Schoneveld added a goal and three ground balls. Goalkeeper Tiffani Henderson made 11 saves.
Wayson collected six ground balls to go along with her three goals and one assist while Schultz and Katie Vautier registered seven draws for York. Nicklas posted three saves in her 44 minutes of action after entering the game in the first half.
York outshot Montclair State 34-26 with the Spartans winning 17 of the 29 draws contested. The Red Hawks held a 29-26 advantage in ground balls.