Union Edges Rensselaer, 9-8, in Liberty Semifinal

CLINTON, N.Y. -- Kristin Joyce '11 scored four goals and added an assist as Union College hung on to edge Rensselaer 9-8 in a 2011 Liberty League women's lacrosse championship semifinal at Hamilton College's Steuben Field on May 6.

No. 2 seed Union (10-7 overall) will once again meet top-seeded Hamilton College in the league final at Hamilton on Saturday, May 7, at 3:00 p.m. The Continentals defeated Skidmore College 10-7 in the other semifinal earlier Friday afternoon. The Dutchwomen will play in their eighth consecutive league championship game, and this will be the sixth in a row against Hamilton. Union won it all in 2005 and 2006.

No. 3 Rensselaer (10-5) had won its last five games coming into the championship. The Engineers lost at home to Union 10-8 back on April 2. Rensselaer was making its second appearance in the championship after playing in the event for the first time last year.

Joyce moved into first place on the program's career points list with 295 after the five she recorded on Friday. Union's Molly Flanagan '05 had 294 points from 2002 to 2005. Joyce leads the Dutchwomen with 57 goals and 72 points this year.

Melissa Hine '11 chipped in three goals and one assist, and Chelsea Charette '11 added one goal and one assist for Union. Casey Dianni '11 tallied her 12th goal. Alexis Deeb '11 made five saves, and Hine led the defense with four caused turnovers. Tory Arnold '11 picked up four ground balls. Joyce, Hine, Ally Boertzel '11 and Kat Egizi '12 won two draw controls each.

Stephanie Caouette '11 paced the Engineers with four goals -- all in the second half. Alissa Peterson '13 scored two goals, and Shannon Maguire '13 had one goal and one assist. Whitney Kukol '11 notched her 18th goal, and Afton Marshall '11 was credited with her team-high 17th assist.

Allie Arnal '13 stopped nine shots, and Maguire led the Rensselaer defense with two caused turnovers. Peterson and Jen Greenwood '11 recorded two ground balls and two draw controls apiece.

Joyce put the Dutchwomen in front for good at 2-1 with 14:58 left in the first half. Union led 6-2 at the break, and when Joyce gave the Dutchwomen a 9-3 advantage on a feed from Hine with 12:48 remaining, it seemed Union would cruise to the victory.

The Engineers had other plans. Peterson found the back of the net for her team-high 32nd goal with 9:50 left, and Kukol made the score 9-5 on a free-position goal with 3:57 remaining. Caouette converted a free-position opportunity 61 seconds later, and made it a two-goal game just 19 seconds after that. Caouette added her 30th goal to draw Rensselaer within one with 1:51 left.

The Dutchwomen won the ensuing draw but, after a Union timeout, Greenwood forced a turnover and picked up the ground ball with 58 seconds to go. The Engineers worked the ball around for a good scoring opportunity, and earned a free-position attempt with seven seconds left.

Deeb stopped Maguire's free-position shot, and Greenwood picked up the loose ball on the left side of the goal. However, time ran out before Rensselaer could squeeze off another shot.

The Dutchwomen held a 20-15 shot advantage, and had 21 ground balls to 16 for the Engineers. Rensselaer owned a 10-9 edge in draw controls, but was successful on just 9 of 16 clear attempts.


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