LEXINGTON, Va. – The top-seeded Washington and Lee women's lacrosse team withstood a late rally by fourth-seeded Virginia Wesleyan as it held on for a 9-6 victory in semifinal action of the ODAC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Watt Field.
W&L (13-4) came out strong to start the contest, as it held a 9-1 advantage in shots over the opening 10 minutes. However, it was Virginia Wesleyan (10-8) that struck first, as junior attacker Courtney Williams (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) connected on a free position shot to put the Marlins up, 1-0, with 19:45 on the clock. VWC senior midfielder Tara Harding (Waterford, N.Y./Clifton Park Shenendehowa) pushed the advantage to 2-0 at the 16:51 mark, scoring off a pass from junior midfielder Natalie Belva (Colorado Springs, Colo./Liberty).
The Generals responded, scoring the next three goals of the game to assume their first lead, 3-2, with 13:35 remaining in the first half. Senior attacker Wilton Megargel (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) scored the first W&L goal at the 15:37 mark, and junior attacker Alli Shearin (Essex Fells, N.J./West Essex Regional) netted an unassisted marker just over 30 seconds later to tie the game at 2-2. Senior attacker Kate Speare (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) added the final goal during the run for the 3-2 W&L lead.
VWC's Williams scored an unassisted goal with 11:29 on the clock in the first half to tie the game (3-3), but senior midfielder Kate Donnelly (Houston, Texas/St. John's School) and senior midfielder Emmy Mathews (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr) each added a goal as the Generals went into the break with a 5-3 edge, a lead they would not surrender the rest of the way.
W&L continued its scoring run to open the second half, recording four unanswered goals to assume its largest lead of the game, 9-3, with 12:36 remaining. Mathews netted her second goal of the contest off an assist from Speare for a 6-3 lead at the 24:25 mark. The Generals then scored three goals over a 2:03 span, receiving goals from Speare (14:39), Mathews (13:03) and Megargel (12:36) to take the 9-3 lead.
The Marlins continued to challenge the Generals, as Belva connected on a free position shot with 9:17 remaining to bring the score to 9-4. VWC added two goals in the final minutes, including unassisted goals from first-year midfielder Lauren Davis (Middleburg, Va./Mercersburg Academy) and sophomore midfielder Taylor Harding (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Collegiate) but it was not enough as the Generals claimed the final 9-6 margin.
Mathews led the Generals with three goals and Speare added two goals and an assist. Megargel finished with two goals, while senior defender Kathy Brown (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) and first-year defender Olive Waxter (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park Country) contributed a team-high three ground balls apiece. Junior midfielder Christina Benedetti (Derwood, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) fored a game-high four turnovers, and first-year midfielder Alex Van Horn (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) won a game-high five draw controls.
In net, senior Katharine Farrar (Lexington, Va./Episcopal) played all 60:00, recording 10 saves.
For the Marlins, Williams scored a team-best two goals, while Taylor Harding, Tara Harding, Belva and Davis finished with a goal each. Tara Harding also collected a game-high four ground balls.
Juniors Brittany MacKnew (Abingdon, Md./Bel Air) and Michelle Mace (Dumfries, Va./Woodbridge Forest Park) shared time in net. MacKnew played 58:04, allowing nine goals while stopping 10 shots. Mace played the final 1:56 and did not face a shot.
With the win, the Generals advance to the finals of the ODAC Tournament and will face either No. 2 seed Lynchburg College or No. 3 seed Roanoke College this weekend. Date and time are TBD.
W&L Goals: Emmy Mathews 3; Kate Speare 2; Wilton Megargel 2; Alli Shearin 1; Kate Donnelly 1.
W&L Assists: Margaret Klein 1; Kate Speare 1.
VWC Goals: Courtney Williams 2; Natalie Belva 1; TaraHarding 1; Lauren Davis 1; Taylor Harding 1.
VWC Assists: Natalie Belva 1.