Virginia Wesleyan Scores OT Victory over St. Mary's

St. Mary's City, Md. Virginia Wesleyan's junior attacker Rachel Gratton (Stratham, N.H./Exeter) found the back of the net with 3:14 remaining in the first extra period to lift the visiting Marlins, 14-13, over St. Mary's Tuesday afternoon in non-conference action.

After receiving a lateral pass from junior midfielder Natalie Belva (Colorado Springs, Colo./Liberty) at the top of the 12-meter circle, Gratton fired in a shot from about 10 yards out to the lower left corner past senior goalkeeper Jamie Roberts (Rockville, Md./Barrie). Gratton's goal capped an 8-3 run as the Marlins (5-5) overcame a four-goal halftime deficit.

Junior attacker Courtney Williams (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) put VWC on the scoreboard as Williams won the draw and sprinted down the field for a fast-break unassisted goal just 10 seconds in the game. St. Mary's (8-4) responded with a free-position goal by sophomore midfielder Lauren Gray (Edgewater, Md./South River) at 28:43.

Neither team could jump ahead by more than a goal as the teams went back-and-forth for a 3-3 tied game at 22:07. After an 11-minute lull, senior midfielder Aubrey Mirkin (Ashton, Md./Sherwood) converted on a free-position shot for the Seahawks' first lead of the game. Belva answered with a free-position goal of her own before the home team scored three unanswered goals for a 7-4 margin at 4:21.

St. Mary's stayed three goals ahead as the two squads exchanged points once again until Mirkin and sophomore midfielder Lauriann Parker (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) tallied goals in a 24-second span to give the Seahawks' a 10-6 halftime lead.

In a near repeat of the start of the game, Williams notched an unassisted goal at 27:21 to kick off the second half. The Seahawks then scored twice to stretch their lead to 12-7 at 25:43 before VWC closed the gap to 12-10 on goals by Belva, sophomore midfielder Taylor Harding (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Collegiate), and Gratton.

Sophomore midfielder Emily Shafer (Hollywood, Md./Leonardtown) returned St. Mary's to a three-goal cushion at 7:52 before the Marlins rattled off the last three goals of the second half in the 6:18 of regulation.

Draw controls were key in VWC's comeback rally as the Marlins captured 10 of 14 draws between the second stanza and OT period after St. Mary's had claimed a 10-7 margin in the first half.

Mirkin paced SMCM in the loss with three goals and an assist while Shafer had a hat trick and Parker tallied two goals and two assists. Junior Colleen Simpson (Arnold, Md./Broadneck) started the game and made 10 saves before being relieved by Roberts for the final 12:18 of the game.

St. Mary's will return to action this Saturday, April 2 as the Seahawks travel to the Eastern Shore to take on No. 2 Salisbury University in Capital Athletic Conference action at 2:00 pm.


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