Gimme five! Cardinals capture fifth straight conference title
WASHINGTON – In a game that came down to the final minute, CUA defeated Susquehanna 12-10 to capture its fifth straight Landmark Conference championship on Saturday inside Cardinal Stadium. Susquehanna tied things at 10 with 4:11 remaining, but CUA's Meghan Brady scored the game-winning goal with 2:48 to play, and Mary Swarthout netted an insurance goal with six seconds on the clock.
CUA is the only Landmark Conference school to have won the women's lacrosse title. The Cardinals are now a perfect 10-0 in the tournament and advance to their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
On a hot and humid afternoon, Susquehanna scored the game's first two goals, one by Emma Ehler and another by Ally Bauer to give the visitors a 2-0 lead five minutes in.
Katie Miller got CUA on the board at the 23:21 mark of the half, but Brynn Reid answered with back-to-back scores for the Crusaders to put the Cardinals in a 4-1 hole.
Unfazed, CUA roared back with goals by Lindsay Brophy, Theresa Ciletti and Mallory Vogel to tie the game at four at halftime.
Vogel's goal came with only 42 seconds on the clock, following a Susquehanna turnover.
Ehler struck for a Crusaders goal less than two minutes into the second to make it a 5-4 game, but Miller answered for CUA at the 27:13 mark to tie things at five.
Mary Robinson then gave CUA its first lead of the afternoon with a goal at the 25:50 mark, and Miller added another score to put the Cards in front by two.
With 20 minutes remaining, Ehler pulled Susquehanna within one with an unassisted goal, but Swarthout answered with CUA's eighth goal to make it a two-goal spread.
Goals by Michelle McGinniss and Ehler in a 3:27 span pulled the Crusaders even at eight, but Vogel answered with a free position goal to give the lead back to CUA with 9:20 remaining in the game.
A free position shot by Ehler a minute later tied things at nine, but Brady took a feed from Vogel at the 7:15 mark and found the back of the net to continue the back-and-forth and make it 10-9.
Three minutes later, Ehler scored her sixth goal of the day to tie the game for the fifth time.
CUA won the ensuing draw control and after a foul was called on Susquehanna, Brady stepped up for a free position shot and the senior delivered with her second goal of the day, and the eventual game-winner.
CUA again won the ensuing draw control and with six seconds left, Swarthout took a feed from Robinson and deposited an insurance goal in the net to set the final margin at two.
CUA finished with a 33-17 advantage in ground balls and a 15-9 lead in draw controls. The Cardinals defense was terrific all day, forcing Susquehanna into 22 turnovers and only a 19-of-29 showing on clear attempts.
Robinson led the Cardinals with six draw controls, while Caroline Scalamandre won four and Swarthout added three. Megan Gormley was outstanding on the defensive end, with six caused turnovers and five ground balls, as she continually made life tough on the Crusaders in the clearing game.
Freshman Tricia Pehnke sent back 13 shots in goal for the Cardinals, and she also picked up a pair of GBs.
CUA will now wait to learn its NCAA Tournament fate, which will be announced on Sunday, May 6 during the selection show at 9:30 p.m. The Cardinals have won at least one game in the tourney in each of the past four seasons.
See the end of Saturday's game, along with coach and player interviews in the video below.
Check out a few of the highlights from Saturday in this video.