May 6, 2009

Courtesy of Catholic Athletics

WASHINGTON- In a thrilling first round game of the NCAA Championships, the Catholic University of America women's lacrosse team defeated the Falcons of Messiah College by a score of 9-8. With the win, the team improves to 16-3 overall, and will advance to the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Catholic University used a balanced offensive attack combined with a solid defensive effort to gain the upper hand over the Falcons. CUA was led by Landmark Player of the Year, Kate Robinson (Emmitsburg, Md./Catoctin), and Landmark Rookie of the Year, Mary Swarthout (Rockville, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel), who each contributed three goals. Robinson also added three assists and five draw controls in the win. Laura Haring (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) was also a tremendous offensive spark for the Cards, contributing two goals, two assists, and two ground balls. Katie Buonpastore rounded out the scoring with a game-winning goal in overtime and one assist in the victory. Caroline Taltavull (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) recorded two caused turnovers, while goaltender Melissa Brashear (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) stopped four shots in goal.

Back-to-back goals by Haring put the Cardinals up two in the opening minutes of play. Swarthout then converted off a free position shot to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead at the 16 minute mark. Messiah then answered with two consecutive goals of their own, bringing the teams to a 3-2 standstill. Haring connected with Robinson at the 11 minute mark, but the Falcons wrapped up the first stanza by outscoring the Cards 4-1, taking a 7-6 lead to end the period.

The Falcons continued to use their first half offensive momentum, scoring just two minutes into the second half. Both teams remained relatively quiet until CUA's Robinson found the back of the net off a pass from Haring at the 12 minute mark. Robinson then connected with Swarthout to bring the teams to a 7-7 deadlock. After Meghan Doolittle scored at the two minute mark, Robinson took matters into her own hands, recording an unassisted goal with 23 seconds remaining. The teams finished the regulation period at an 8-8 draw.

Buonpastore then connected with Robinson with 16 seconds left in the first overtime period, sealing the final lead of the game for CUA. Neither team scored for the remainder of the match, and the Cardinals ran away with a 9-8 victory.

CUA will now travel to Salisbury University on Saturday, May 9th for a game against either Christopher Newport or Mary Washington.