Cardinals Soar Past Falcons, Advance to Regional Semifinals
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 (Lansdale, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) rounded out the scoring with the 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.
CUA came out with an explosive start, as back-to-back goals by Haring put the Cardinals up two in the opening minutes of play. Swarthout 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 period. 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 Messiah's Meghan Doolittle broke the tie 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.
Robinson managed to find Buonpastore with 16 seconds left in the first overtime period, sealing the final lead of the game for CUA. The Cards' tenacious defensive efforts halted Messiah's scoring attempts for the remainder of the game, as CUA ran away with a 9-8 victory.
CUA will now travel to Salisbury University on Saturday, May 9th for a game against Mary Washington. The time of that game is to be determined.