West Chester holds off Lock Haven to win PSAC tournament championship
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. -- Seventh-ranked West Chester held on down the stretch to win the 2013 PSAC Championship title with an 8-7 victory against sixth-ranked Lock Haven Saturday afternoon at Charlotte E. Smith Field.
West Chester (15-4) awaits the NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse selection show Sunday night at 8 p.m. on NCAA.com. The Golden Rams will see if their body of work was enough to earn another trip to the NCAA tournament. Lock Haven (15-2) saw its 12-game winning streak come to a close with the loss. They, too, will await the NCAA selection show to see if their season continues.
West Chester won its conference record 21st conference championship, but first since 2008. The Golden Rams and Lady Eagles have played for the PSAC Championship in seven of the last eight seasons.
Junior goalkeeper Jess Henderson was named the tournament’s most valuable player, making nine saves in the championship game to go along with her 11 saves in the semifinals.
“I didn’t think a goalie could win this award,” Henderson said afterwards. “But, I’ll take it.”
“(Henderson) was fabulous all weekend,” West Chester head coach Ginny Martino said. “She jump-started our attack with her saves. The “D” was playing great in front of her. But, she came up with some big saves when we needed them.
“I think we showed this week that we can play defense. This whole weekend was about the defense.”
The victory was not without its heart-stopping moments in the final minute. West Chester and Lock Haven exchanged turnovers in the Rams’ end with 45 seconds left, before Lock Haven finally cleared the ball, and Kelly Close drew a free position attempt with five seconds left on the clock. However, Close false-started on the attempt, and the referees had to huddle to discuss how play would resume.
They called for a “throw” and the clock expired before anybody could gain possession of the ball.
West Chester held an 8-5 lead with 7:42 remaining when Lock Haven finally made its move. The Lady Eagles got back-to-back tallies from Cilla (1 goal) and Pandolf (3 goals) to cut the margin to one with 1:28 left.
Tori Dugan won the ensuing draw control, but West Chester turned the ball over in the corner while chasing a loose ball with 58 seconds left. Dugan knocked down an outlet pass on the restart, but Lock Haven picked up the ground ball with 45 ticks remaining. That is when Close raced the length of the field on the clear and drew the free position attempt with five seconds to go.
“We’ve been here so many times and not come away with the championship,” Dugan said. “(The seniors) asked everybody in the room to raise their hand if they had ever won a PSAC championship, and nobody raised their hand. I think that was enough motivation for everyone in the room.”
“It seems like 50 years,” Martino said. “I forgot what this feeling was like. Congratulations to the seniors today. They really rocked it. They were exceptional.”
Lauren Glassey and Nicole Pyle each finished with a hat trick. Glassey contributed two assists to post five points in the championship game. Dugan scored twice and assisted on two others. Pandolf scored three times for Lock Haven.