FREDONIA, N.Y. -- Fredonia State registered post-season its first post-season win in women's lacrosse in dramatic fashion on Saturday.
Juliana Kotas scored with 3.3 seconds remaining as the Blue Devils defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 9-8, in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournaent at University Stadium.
It was the second goal of the game for Kotas, whose shot into a narrow gap came after receiving a pass from behind the net from Katie Kleine, who beat a double team behind to get off the pass. The goal touched off a wild celebration among the partisan faithful and sent the Blue Devils into the post-season victory column for the first time in the 19-year history of the program.
The Blue Devils, an at-large entry into the NCAA field from the SUNYAC, are likely headed to Trinity (Conn.) for a regional game next Saturday. The will take a 12-6 record into the game.
The loss ended RPI's season at 13-5. The Engineers were representing the Liberty League as its league champion for the third consecutive year.
Neither team held a lead larger than two goals during the back-and-forth affair Saturday. The Engineers broke on top on goals by Jamie Wakefield and Marissa Page in the first three minutes. Marissa Cussins answered with two goals for the Blue Devils.
RPI scored three of the next four goals to take a 5-3 lead into halftime. Erin Riley, Rachel Scofield, and Meg Colitz scored for the Engineers, interrupted only by a goal by Kleine, her 25th.
Fredonia State's Katie Glagolev and RPI's Wakefield traded goals early in the second half before the Blue Devils killed off a two-minute penalty and then scored the next four goals. Glagolev got things going when she rolled off her defender for her 33rd goal of the season, following by a goal from Kotas -- her ninth of the season -- to tie the game at 6-6 with 15:53 left. Cussins assisted on both goals.
The Blue Devils took their first lead of the game, 7-6, when Cussins connected for her 53rd goal with 11:13 left. They pushed their advantage out to 8-6 on a goal by Sam Owen, her 17th of the year, with 10:24 to gol.
Fredonia State won the subsequent draw and was poised to take a three-goal lead, only to turn the ball over and give the Engineers new life. Following an RPI timeout, Scofield scored to end a scoring drought of nearly 22 minutes, and Colitz scored 28 seconds later. The teams were again even at 8-8.
A scramble on the next draw was won by Fredonia State's Kristie Kleine, and the Blue Devils went into a freeze. Head coach Chris Case -- who is in his final season at the helm -- called three timeouts down the stretch to set up one final play. He wanted the ball on the stick of Cussins or either of the Kleines. Instead, Kotas came free briefly to the right of net. She had on a fraction of a second to catch Katie Kleine's pass and shoot into a small opening between the goalkeeper and the right post before she was knocked to the turf by a defender.
Fredonia State goalkeeper Jessica Zagari finished with six saves as well as three ground balls and one caused turnover. RPI's Erin Amarello also made six saves.