Patchogue, N.Y. - The St. Joseph's women's lacrosse (3-1) team faced back-to-back games for the first time this season, and the second game on Sunday resulted in a gritty, 11-10 overtime win against Castleton State (0-3) from Vermont.
Castleton had been picked to win its third-straight North Atlantic Conference women's lacrosse title and returned a veteran team from last year. The tough, scrappy Spartans were another good early season test for the Golden Eagles. Despite jumping out to an early lead, St. Joseph's had to withstand a late rush by Castleton to force the first overtime game in St. Joseph's College history. Sophomore Jessica Cordano scored the game winner in the first overtime and the Golden Eagles controlled the ball in overtime and tied their best start in program history at 3-1.
Freshman Tricia Barrett, who missed the first two games due to injury, got her first start of the year at attack and responded by scoring the first goal of her St. Joseph's career. After driving hard to goal, she was fouled on the play and converted the free position shot to give SJC a 1-0 early lead. Less than a minute later Amanda D'Onofrio made a defensive gem, blocking an outlet pass at the restraining line, then dishing off to Ela Igdeler, who hit Karalyn Tetelman on the left side. Tetelman moved it to Barrett who found Tori Gregson on the crease and the Golden Eagles went up 2-0 at 24:35.
A few minutes later, Cait Halloran lost the ball in the offensive end, but sprinted back 60 yards to strip the Castleton middie of the ball, causing it to roll to Nicole Lyman who scooped the ground ball and reversed the action back upfield where she found Graceann Fallon. Fallon drove to goal and flipped the ball to Heather Ferchland who was fouled and then converted the free position shot for a 3-0 lead. Castleton came back and got on the board at 20:35 to make it a 3-1 game after Kate Auer scored her first goal from Sarah Clark.
After a save, Courtney Wickline cleared the ball to Ali Pavese who ran it upfield to Ferchland, who found Gregson to give the Golden Eagles a 4-1 lead. A defensive steal led to the fifth goal, where Gregson this time hit Ferchland on a nice pass to make it 5-1 halfway through the opening period. Castleton came back with back-to-back goals with Grace Johnson and Amanda Flodstorm getting on the board. Near the end of the half, Igdeler drew a shooting space foul and off the free position hit Jenna Kelleher with a pass to give St. Joseph's a 6-3 lead going into the half.
Castleton started the second half with two straight goals, and suddenly it was a 6-5 game with 21 minutes remaining. Kate Auer and Amanda Flodstorm each scored their second goals on free position shots. But the Golden Eagles responded with four straight goals in the next four minutes. Gregson started it off by driving from behind the cage after getting a pass from Fallon at 20:22. Off the next draw, Kristine Minogue got the ball and was tripped. After starting with a free clear she drove to goal and dished off to Fallon to make it 8-5 with 19:53 left. Shortly after that, Minogue drove through the 8-meter arc, then came out and swung the ball to Cordano, who made a strong move to goal but spotted Gregson free in front and hit her with a perfect pass for the Golden Eagles ninth goal of the day. The forthcoming goal was a great team effort, as Fallon came up with a ground ball to keep the offensive possession alive and the Golden Eagles got off a couple of shots before Ferchland hit Cordano with 16:20 left to give SJC their biggest lead of the day at 10-5.
But Castleton would not go down without a fight and started a fierce comeback, scoring four goals in ten minutes to get within one. Brandi Whittemore from Mariah Lesure started it at 14:17, then two penalties shots in a five minute span by Grace Johnson (9:37) and Mariah Lesure (4:57) made it 10-8. Feeling the momentum switch, Castleton pushed on forty seconds later to pull within a goal on Amanda Flodstorm's hat trick goal from Kate Auer. With just 1:45 left, after trailing all game long, the Spartans incredible comeback was complete when they tied the game up when Blake Wardwell scored her only goal of the game assisted by Flodstorm. Then Castleton won the draw and held onto the ball. The Golden Eagles defense tightened up and played brilliant in the end, thwarting any attempts by Castleton to win the game.
The first-ever overtime for St. Joseph's was one they will remember for a long time. Castleton won the first draw and came down and took their time, finally getting a great shot right in front that Wickline made a point blank save on. The Golden Eagles gained possession and Igdeler drove hard to goal and was fouled. She shot a hard shot on the free position but the goalie, Meghan Els, made a great save and Castleton assumed control of the ball. But the Golden Eagles rode hard, with Cordano jumping high to deflect the outlet pass and Kelleher scooped up the ground ball, dishing it back to Igdeler whose pass bounced off Ferchland's stick out to an alert Cordano. Cordano put her head down and drove through three players and drilled a shot into the left corner for the game winner with 59 seconds left in the first overtime. Lyman won the ensuing draw control and the St. Joseph's kept the ball until time ran out. In the second half of the overtime period, St. Joseph's won the draw and there were no more shots taken in the game, as the Golden Eagles held on for a huge win and great confidence builder.
St. Joseph's won the draw battle, 15-9, and outshot the Spartans, 27-24. Megan Els had 15 saves and Courtney Wickline 10 saves, including a game saver in overtime. Gregson led six different goal scores for the Golden Eagles with four and an assist. Ferchland had five draw controls and Lyman four for SJC.
The Eagles play Thomas College from Maine on Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. at Danzi Stadium.