May 9, 2010

Courtesy of Hamilton

Hamilton College scored the first two goals, led 9-1 at the half and the nationally ranked No. 1 Continentals cruised to a 13-3 win against No. 11 Union College in the 2010 Liberty League championship final at Hamilton's Steuben Field on May 8.

The top-seeded Continentals (18-0 overall) claimed their fourth consecutive league tournament title -- all four against Union. Hamilton earned the league's automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Division III championship. The tournament field and pairings will be announced on Sunday, May 9, at 10 p.m.

This was the fifth straight year that Hamilton (18-0 overall) and Union College met in the league championship game. This year's game was easily the most lopsided in what has become a spirited rivalry between the programs. The three goals for Union marked a season-low. Second-seeded Union (11-7) was playing in this game for the seventh year in a row. The Dutchwomen won the tournament in 2005 and 2006.

The Continentals extended their home win streak to 36 games. Union was the last team to knock off Hamilton at home, 12-7, back on April 22, 2006. Hamilton remains the only undefeated team in Division III women's lacrosse.

Rachel Friedman '13 led the Continentals with four goals for the second straight day. Friedman also recorded one assist, won three draw controls and picked up two ground balls. Anne Graveley '11 scored three goals, picked up a game-high four ground balls and won two draw controls. Liz Rave '10 chipped in three goals and one assist.

Sarah Bray '11 scored two goals and was credited with two assists. Bray's 42 assists set a program record for one season. Kaillie Briscoe '09 held the previous record of 41, which she established in 2007 and 2008. Bray also contributed three ground balls, three draw controls and three caused turnovers.

Friedman, Bray, Graveley and Rave were all named to the all-tournament team, and Rave earned most outstanding player honors. Libby Schultz `12 added one goal for Hamilton. Kate Fowler `10 played all 60 minutes in goal and made four saves.

Two lightning delays -- one in each half -- did nothing to stop the momentum the Continentals generated early. Friedman struck first for Hamilton, finding the back of the net after a pass from Bray 2:38 into the first half. Rave made the score 2-0 at the 24:10 mark as Friedman was credited with the assist. With a little more than 23 minutes left in the first half, the first delay stopped the game for 45 minutes.

Union got on the scoreboard with 19:17 on the clock with an unassisted goal. Hamilton then took control by scoring the next eight goals over the rest of the first half and early in the second half.

Graveley started the run with an unassisted goal at 17:57. Schultz capitalized on a free-position shot for her 25th goal to make the score 4-1. Graveley tallied back-to-back goals to stretch Hamilton's lead to five. Rave took advantage of a free-position shot, and Friedman followed with back-to-back goals. Her second goal came with just 0.4 seconds remaining in the first half to put Hamilton up 9-1 at the break.

Bray capped off the run with her first goal of the day 31 seconds into the second half. With a little less than 23 minutes remaining, the second delay created a 35-minute stoppage. The Dutchwomen scored their second goal at 21:50. Bray and Rave added unassisted goals to give Hamilton a 12-2 lead. Rave leads the Continentals with 38 goals. Friedman found the back of the net for her 36th goal on a free-position shot with 10:37 left. Union scored the game's final goal with 4:10 remaining.

The Continentals outshot the Dutchwomen 25-9. Hamilton also enjoyed a 25-13 advantage in ground balls and an 11-5 edge in draw controls. The Continentals harassed Union throughout the game as the Dutchwomen finished with 25 turnovers. Union was successful on just 9 of 25 clear attempts, while the Continentals were successful on all 14 attempts.