April 29, 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. - American University women's lacrosse fell short in its quest for an NCAA tournament berth after losing to Holy Cross, 12-8, in the Patriot League Championship game on Sunday afternoon at Hart Astroturf.
American University went into the second half down 5-3 and immediately began chipping away at the Crusader lead. Offensive Player of the Year Jackie Lane (North Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge) found defender Caitlin Bell (Flourtown, Pa./Springfield) cutting hard through the circle. With quick stick work, the Patriot League Defender of the Year put the goal away, bringing the Eagles within one just over 40 seconds into the final stanza. After a first half of back and forth goals between the conference rivals, it was no surprise Holy Cross answered with a goal of its own just minutes later.
On a Lauren Aksionoff (Baldwin, N.Y./Baldwin) and Lane connection, AU started a two goal rally over the Purple and White, with Kira Sonberg's (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) rocket shot locking the score at six with 19:10 remaining on the clock. Holy Cross's Patricia Sutton, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, regained the lead for Cross just over two minutes later, finishing the day with a game-high five goals. Determined to keep the comeback in reach, sophomore attack Gina Ibello (Cockeysville, Md./Maryvale Prep) netted her second goal of the game, knotting the score at seven with 16:26 to play. The returning PL Champions stole the momentum and ran with it, tallying five unanswered goals, putting the biggest dent of the day in the lead and going on to win its second consecutive championship.
American University women's lacrosse held the advantage over the Crusaders through most of the first half, before Holy Cross took its first lead of the game with 3:59 remaining in the opening period and never losing it from there. AU was outshot 34-23, with goalkeeper Kristine Vida (Syosset, N.Y./Syosset) registering nine saves on the day. Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year, Megan Orr recorded 11 saves for Cross and broke the Patriot League's Record for career saves with 839.
Aksionoff finished with a team-high three points, coming off a goal and two assists. The team's lone senior Caithlin Gorman (Springfield, Va./Bishop Ireton) tallied a goal in her last game ever donning an American University uniform, with Stefanie D'Andrea (Carversville, Pa./S.H. Calhoun) scoring with two seconds left in the game, with the Eagles never giving up.
Juniors Brittany Finnegan (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip), Bell and Lane were named to the 2007 Patriot League All-Tournament Team, all of whom also represented AU in the All-League selections.
American University women's lacrosse wraps up its 2007 season with a 9-9 overall record, the most wins seen since the 2003 season. Head Coach Katie Woods led the team to the Patriot League Championship for the first time since the 2004 season and matched Maureen Dupcak's record for most victories by a first year head coach with nine.