Nazareth Holds off Ithaca for One-Goal Victory

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Junior Kristine Olijnyk (Webster Thomas HS/Webster, NY) scored a team-high three goals, including the eventual game-winning goal, to lift host Nazareth to a 12-11 victory over Ithaca in a women's Empire 8 Conference lacrosse game. Senior Ann Sessler (Cazenovia HS/ Cazenovia, NY) finished with a game-high 13 saves to earn the victory for the Golden Flyers.

With the victory, Nazareth improves to 9-5 overall and 5-2 in conference games. With the loss, the Bombers fall to 9-5 overall and drop to 7-1 in the Empire 8. The Golden Flyers host Elmira Sunday in a 1:00 p.m. game before the Empire 8 Tournament, the weekend of May 7th. Ithaca has already clinched the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Nazareth presently holds the fourth position, but could move up to the third spot with a victory over Elmira and an upset by Hartwick over RIT.

The Golden Flyers claimed a 3-0 lead in the first 16:47 of the game following an unassisted goal by junior Michelle Cook (Waterloo HS/Waterloo, NY) and a goal by seniors Nora Davis (Bishop Ludden HS/Syracuse, NY) and Stephanie Cash.(Saratoga Springs HS/Saratoga Springs, NY) Cook assisted Davis on her goal and freshman Alyssa Johnston (Canandaigua Academy/Canandaigua, NY) was credited with an assist on Cash's goal.

Sessler and the Nazareth defense kept the potent Bombers off the board until Tracy Rivas scored with 10:36 to play in the first half. Catherine Hurley tallied back-to-back goals, which were separated by 47 seconds, to tie the score with 7:07 to play in the period. Kylie McLure gave Ithaca its first lead of the game about a minute after Hurley's second goal. Olijnyk, however, answered with her second goal in the final minute of the half to tie the game, 4-4, at halftime.

Cook ignited the Golden Flyers' offense to begin the second period as she set up Jennifer Young's (Marcellus HS/Marcellus, NY) and Chelsey Amidon's (Onondaga HS/Marcellus, NY) goals. Young and Amidon scored in the first 2:11 of the second period to reclaim Nazareth's lead. After Rivas tallied her second goal of the game for Ithaca, Amidon and Cash each scored on free position shots to stretch the Golden Flyers' lead to 8-5 midway through the half.

After McLure converted a free position shot for the Bombers, Davis reclaimed Nazareth's three goal advantage. After forcing Ithaca's goalie into a turnover, Davis collected the ball and raced toward the Bombers' goal as Ithaca's defenders were caught up around midfield for their clear. The Golden Flyers scored on their next two possessions to take an 11-6 lead with under 10 minutes to play in regulation. Olijnyk and Johnston each found the back of the Bombers' goal to extend Nazareth's lead. Senior Alyssia Roberts (Marcus Whitman HS/Stanley, NY) was credited with assist on Olijnyk's goal while freshman Erinn Wood (Vestal HS/Vestal, NY) set up Johnston's goal.

Ithaca's Alison DeCirce temporarily cut the Bombers' deficit to four goals with an unassisted goal with 8:29 remaining in the second half. Two minutes later, Olijnyk scored the eventual game-winning goal by converting her free position opportunity.

Ithaca mounted a furious rally after Olijnyk's goal, as the Bombers scored four goals in under two minutes. Hurley led the Ithaca attack as she scored back-to-back goals to cut the Golden Flyers' lead to 12-9. McClure and Rivas each added an additional goal, but Sessler and Nazareth's defense prevented the Bombers from tying the game on Ithaca's final possessions in the final minute.

Ithaca held a 37-19 advantage in shots and a 19-13 advantage in ground balls. Nazareth won 11 of 16 draw controls in the second half to hold a 13-12 edge for the game. Sessler's 13 saves kept the Golden Flyers ahead for most of the game. Courtney Dowell finished with five saves in goal for the Bombers. Junior Alyssa Mulheron (Canandaigua Academy/Canandaigua, NY) collected a team-high four draw controls for the Golden Flyers while Amidon finished with a team-high four ground balls and three caused turnovers.


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