May 12, 2010

HOBOKEN, N.J. - The No. 7 Stevens Institute of Technology women's lacrosse team used a 9-0 run over a span of 10:41 to erase an early deficit en route to a 15-12 win over Montclair State University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship on a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the De Baun Athletic Complex in Hoboken, N.J. Junior Leah Wasserman led Stevens with seven goals as the Ducks broke the program wins record (17) in winning an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in program history.

The Ducks took the lead 27 seconds when Wasserman tallied unassisted on their first possession but Montclair State did not blink, scoring the game's next three goals to open up a 3-1 edge with 24:09 left in the first half. Sophomore Jessica Curran (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) had two of the scores for the Red Hawks.

The Ducks knotted the game a three apiece with tallies from Wasserman and senior captain Alyssa Pigott, but MSU did not back down, opening up a 5-3 lead after two free-position goals from freshman Kailee Beal (Succasunna, N.J.) with 8:37 left in the half.

The two squads played scoreless lacrosse over the next 5:30, and junior Michelle Buonacuore tallied a pair of goals 1:06 apart to tie the game at five.

Stevens would gain its first lead since the fourth minute thanks to Pigott who put in a nice shot after a pretty pass from freshman Spencer Waybright, and the Ducks were able to take an 8-5 advantage into the break courtesy of two more goals from Wasserman.

Stevens, who was outplayed for the first 15 minutes of the game, turned up the intensity in the back end of the first and ended the opening stanza with a 20-12 edge in shots and a 16-13 ground ball advantage. MSU committed 17 turnovers compared to 13 for Stevens, while each team turned two free-position attempts into goals.

Wasserman opened the second-half scoring with two goals before 2:30 had elapsed and Pigott followed with an unassisted tally with a little more than 25 minutes to play to push the lead to six (11-5). Sophomore Jenna Scheibling netted a feed from Pigott to make it a 9-0 Stevens run and give the Ducks their largest lead of the game at 12-5.

Juniors Kayla Henderson (Landing, N.J.) and Meghan Spitzer (Mt. Olive, N.J.) scored back-to-back goals to cut the Stevens lead back to five, but the Ducks answered with a pair from junior Pamela Loria and Pigott.

The Red Hawks fought back, scoring four consecutive goals, two from Beal, to cut the Duck lead to four with 4:12 showing on the clock. Wasserman tallied her seventh with 3:32 in the contest, and though Montclair recorded the final two goals of the game, it was too little too late.

Stevens ended with a 36-30 edge in shots and a 22-19 ground ball advantage. Stevens won 19-of-29 draws and each team connected on three free-position chances.

Montclair State goalkeeper Tiffani Henderson (Landing, N.J.) made 13 stops despite taking the loss in goal. Senior captain Shannon McFadden was solid for the Ducks, making nine saves.

Beal and Curran had four and three goals, respectively for MSU, while senior Morgan MacPhee (Toms River, N.J.) and Henderson each netted a pair. Beal had a team-high five draw controls.

Wasserman finished with seven goals, three ground balls, and two caused turnovers to lead the Ducks and has now scored 13 times in the last two games. Pigott had six points on four goals and two assists. She also controlled two draw controls. Junior Christine Smith did not score but controlled a game-high 11 draws. It was the third time this season she had double-digit draw controls and is top-20 in the nation in that statistic. Senior Samantha Zucker caused three turnovers and scooped up three ground balls to pace the Duck defense.

Stevens, now 1-1 all-time in NCAA games, will travel to Gettysburg College for the Regional round of the tournament. In the round of 16, the Ducks will take on Trinity College (Conn.) of the New England Small College Athletic Conference on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Visit on Friday evening for a complete preview and links to live coverage of the game.