2014 & 2016 SAA Champions

Centre edged in SAA shootout by Rhodes, 21-19

Centre edged in SAA shootout by Rhodes, 21-19

DANVILLE, Ky. –  Despite a career-best seven goals from senior Haden Gibbons, Centre women's lacrosse came up short in a thrilling matchup against Rhodes Saturday, falling 21-19 at South Turf Field under mostly rainy conditions.

With a Southern Athletic Association regular season title on the line, the visiting Lynx (12-3, 6-0 SAA) leaned on a reserve goalie and solid second half to fend off the Colonels (13-2, 4-1).

The two sides combined for 21 goals in an opening period that featured six ties.

Gibbons netted four goals in the half, and a late score from Colleen Jackson (Gaithersburg, Md.) gave Centre a slight 11-10 edge at the break. 

Centre didn't trail until the Lynx reeled off four unanswered to begin the second half, taking a 14-11 lead. 

That strong start sparked visitors, who never relinquished the lead despite Centre's continued attack down the stretch.

The Lynx seemingly had an answer for each Colonel goal – surrendering consecutive Centre scores only once the entire half.

Backup goalie Mallika Rao had seven of her eight saves in the second half, as well, taking over for injured starter Lauren Lazure midway through the first period.

A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Gibbons was stellar in the narrow defeat, adding a pair of assists, four ground balls, four caused turnovers and three draw controls to her personal-best seven goals.

Jackson netted six goals for the third time this season, and Hannah Bellamah (Loveland, Ohio) finished with nine draw controls, three goals and two assists.

Hannah Hardy (Louisville, Ky.) scored twice, and Mary Katherine Hardy (Louisville, Ky.) led Centre with six ground balls to go with six draw controls. 

Freshman Bella Tacogue (Louisville, Ky.) scored a late goal that pulled the Colonels within two before the Lynx were able to all but run out the clock.

Senior Natalie Marek (Louisville, Ky.) finished with 12 saves in-goal for Centre.

Centre closes its regular season Sunday with a make-up game against Hendrix. It will also be the Colonels' Senior Day, with opening draw set for 11 a.m. ET.