2014 & 2016 SAA Champions
@CentreWomensLax Beats BSC 16-15 in SAA Quarterfinal Shootout
Free Position Shots
DANVILLE, Ky. (CentreColonels.com) – The Centre women's lacrosse team, seeded fourth in the Southern Athletic Association final standings, hosted fifth seed Birmingham Southern in a rematch from February's matchup that saw the Colonels prevail 15-5. The Panthers would prove to be a tougher out in the quarterfinal matchup, but Centre held on for a 16-15 and will advance to the semifinals.
The opening minutes turned into a microcosm of what the game would become as the two teams alternated goals for the first 15 minutes of play. Junior Hannah Bellamah (Loveland, Ohio) scored a pair of equalizing goals, one on a free position shot and the other off the assist from senior Emily Engdahl (Waukesha, Wis.), while junior Colleen Jackson (Gaithersburg, Md.) tallied another.
BSC scored the next two goals to take a 5-3 lead, but Centre responded with the biggest run of the game, scoring four goals in a row. Senior Ellen Resinger (Louisville, Ky.) and junior Haden Gibbons (Chattanooga, Tenn.) each scored during the rally and Bellamah scored her third and fourth goals of the game after assists by Gibbons and sophomore Hannah Hardy (Louisville, Ky.).
Birmingham's Katie Gleeson cut it to 7-6 with a goal, but Abigail Tessitore (Greer, S.C.) converted a free position shot for the final goal of the half to give Centre an 8-6 lead after an entertaining opening period.
In the second half, the Panthers' Jade Cox quickly opened up the scoring to again cut the Colonels' deficit to one goal, but Jackson and Resinger each scored their second goals of the contest to give Centre a cushion. From there, the two teams once again traded goals over the next eight minutes.
Every time the Panthers cut the Centre lead to two, a different Colonel would respond as Hardy, Jackson, Resinger and Gibbons all scored during the stretch of alternating goals. After scoring her second goal of the game, Gibbons tallied her third assists just 17 seconds later as Jackson's goal put the Colonels on top 15-11.
The third goal of the contest for Gibbons gave Centre a 16-12 lead with just under nine minutes remaining, but the Panthers went on one last furious push. Natalie Daniel and Katie Gleeson scored for BSC within a 51-second span to cut the deficit to two with 7:02 to go. At the 3:18 mark Cox scored her team high fourth goal and the game was up for grabs at 16-15.
With 13 seconds left in the game, the Panthers had a free position shot to potentially tie the score, but it was blocked. Sophomore Mary Allen (Memphis, Tenn.) picked up the ground ball with seven seconds on the clock and the Colonels ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
Jackson and Bellamah paced the Colonels with four goals each, while Gibbons added three goals and a game high three assists. Resinger scored three goals as well and added six draw controls. Bellamah recorded a career high eight draw controls, one more than Birmingham Southern had as a team.
The Colonels held a 27-23 advantage in ground balls, led by Jackson's six, marking a game high.
Centre outshot BSC 49-31 for the game. Junior keeper Natalie Marek (Louisville, Ky.) recorded eight saves, including three in the final minutes, while BSC's Jillian Montgomery finished with 22 saves.
Centre will advance to Sunday's semifinal round to face top seed Rhodes in Memphis. The Colonels will be looking to avenge an 18-8 loss at the Lynx from two weeks ago.