Stevens Finishes Perfect in E8 with OT Win at RIT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (April 23, 2011) Junior Michelle Buonacuore (Medford, N.J.) and senior Christine Smith (East Northport, N.Y.) combined for seven goals as No. 9 Stevens earned a 14-10 overtime win over host RIT to finish the Empire 8 regular season with a perfect 8-0 record.

Smith also had game-highs with eight ground balls and seven draw controls as the Ducks move to 13-2 overall. RIT falls to 6-10 overall and 5-3 in the Empire 8 with the loss.

Buonacuore had a team-high four goals to lead Stevens and Smith had three, while sophomore Joey Galligan (Burlingame, Calif.) had two goals, two ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers. Freshman Kara Rafferty (Bayshore, N.Y.) had two goals, one ground ball and draw control, and three caused turnovers.

Junior Ashley Carey (Mahopac, N.Y.) had four draw controls, two ground balls, and three caused turnovers, and junior Jenna Scheibling (Long Valley, N.J.) had two points (one goal, one assist) as did sophomore Spencer Waybright (West Hartford, Conn.). Waybright also had two ground balls, and a draw control, and senior Pamela Loria (New Providence, N.J.) had one goal and one assist. Freshman Melanie Welcome (Winsted, Conn.) earned the win in between the pipes, making three saves.

RIT was led by five goals and two assists from sophomore Shelby Vakiener (Fairport, N.Y.). She also had three ground balls, three draw controls, and four caused turnovers. Sophomore Katelyn Crane (Palmyra, N.Y.) took the loss in goal despite making nine saves.

Stevens scored the first three goals of the second half to tie the game at five before RIT tallied two consecutive times to take a 7-5 lead with 12:31 to play. Tallies from Loria and Buonacuore tied the game at seven with 8:30 remaining.

With RIT holding a 9-8 edge after a Vakiener marker with 3:27 left, Buonacuore tied the game 22 seconds later before Galligan gave the Ducks their first lead of the afternoon with 1:05 left in regulation. That lead would not be enough for the win as Vakiener knotted things up with 25 ticks to go and sent the game to overtime.

Buonacuore put the Ducks up 1:43 into the overtime before Rafferty, Waybright, and Smith scored for the final margin

Stevens, winners of 23 of their last 24 conference games, ended the thrilling contest with a 33-23 edge in shots and a 23-19 ground ball advantage. The Ducks won 19 of 28 draw controls and connected on 4 of 10 free-position attempts.

Stevens will return to action at No. 1 The College of New Jersey on April 28. Opening draw is set for 7:30 p.m. in Ewing, N.J.

Stevens will host the upcoming conference tournament on May 7 and 8. The Ducks will face St. John Fisher College in the semifinals on Saturday with the winner of that game and the winner of Ithaca College and Nazareth College playing on Sunday. Game times will be announced in the near future.


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