No. 8 Stevens Downs Ithaca to Capture E8 Championship

ITHACA, N.Y. (May 9, 2010) Stevens is the champion of the Empire 8 for the first time in program history. The Ducks downed Ithaca, 14-10, in the title game on Sunday afternoon at Carp Wood Field to earn the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament. Junior Leah Wasserman (Monmouth Beach, N.J.) was named MVP, tallying six goals and handing out one assist.

Stevens (16-2) came out strong, jumping out to a 3-0 lead exactly 1:29 into the game. The Ducks turned the game's first three draw controls into scores, all three coming from junior Leah Wasserman (Monmouth Beach, N.J.).

Freshmen Tracey Rivas (East Meadow, N.Y.) and Michelle Avery (Norwalk, Conn.) tallied a pair of goals just 15 ticks apart to get the Bombers back into the game with 27:44 to play in the first half.

Wasserman stopped the Ithaca rally with her fourth goal in less than five minutes thanks to a perfect feed from sophomore Jenna Scheibling (Long Valley, N.J.), and junior Christine Smith (East Northport, N.Y.) took the ensuing draw control to the house for her first of the game and a 5-2 lead.

Senior Kylie McClure (Columbus, Ohio) cut the lead to two with 19:52 left in the opening stanza, but rookie Spencer Waybright (West Hartford, Conn.) found Wasserman in front for a goal and a 6-3 lead 20 seconds later. Junior Michelle Buonacuore (Medford, N.J.) pushed the Duck lead to four (7-3) with a free-position tally.

Ali DeCirce (Binghamton, N.Y.) brought Ithaca within three, but Buonacoure found Wasserman in front to push the lead back to four with her sixth of the game. The Bombers tallied three-straight goals to make it an 8-7 game and grabbed the momentum.

Scheibling was able to draw a foul inside the eight-meter arc to get a free-position attempt, and when her shot banged off the post, Waybright picked up the rebound and ripped a shot into the lower-left corner to push the lead back to two. The two teams went into the break with the score 9-7 as the Ducks controlled 10 of 17 draws, and had a 19-14 edge in shots. Ithaca ended the first with a 10-9 edge in ground balls.

Waybright extended the Stevens lead to three, slipping a shot under the cross bar with 27:33 left in the contest, and McClure followed with a tally to make it a 10-8 game. The see-saw start to the second half continued with a goal from Smith less than a minute later as the Ducks upped their lead back to three with 25:49 left.

McClure answered with her third goal of the game with 22:18 left in the contest, and DeCirce scored 47 seconds later to make it a one-goal game (11-10). Senior goalkeeper Shannon McFadden (Baltimore, Md.), who came up with several great saves in Saturday's win over Rochester Institute of Technology, made three-straight splendid saves on Bomber free-position attempts to help the Ducks maintain the one-goal advantage and steal away some of the Ithaca momentum.

Senior captain Alyssa Pigott (Jobstown, N.J.) got on the board with a big-time free-position tally with 10:50 to go to give Stevens some breathing room, and 1:47 later, Pigott found Buonacuore in front to extend the advantage back to three (13-10).Buonacuore notched a nifty tally to make it a 3-0 Stevens run and the Ducks dominated possession over the last 7:46 to seal the win.

McFadden was wonderful in goal. She was credited with seven saves but made enormous stops when Ithaca was within one goal in the second half.

The Ducks ended with a 28-25 edge in shots, while Ithaca picked up 21 ground balls compared to 19 for Stevens. Stevens won 14 of 26 draw controls. DeCirce and McClure led Ithaca with three goals apiece.

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