Stevens Falls to St. John Fisher in Empire 8 Semifinals

ITHACA, N.Y. (May 5, 2012) Third-seeded Stevens fell in the semifinals of the Empire 8 championship to St. John Fisher by a score of 13-9 Saturday at Higgins Stadium. The loss drops the Ducks to 10-7 overall, while Fisher improves to 13-4 and advances to the conference title game Sunday against top-seeded Ithaca. The Bombers defeated Nazareth in the other semifinal.

St. John Fisher tallied three goals in the first 3:25 of the game to take the early momentum, but the Ducks bounced back quickly, answering with a 4-0 run over a span of just 4:37 to take a 4-3 lead with 21:12 left in the first half. Junior midfielder Spencer Waybright (West Hartford, Conn.) put Stevens on the board with a free-position goal at 25:49.

Junior midfielder Joey Galligan (Burlingame, Calif.) scored 1:06 later on a pass from senior attack Michelle Buonacuore (Medford, N.J.). Sophomore attack Gabrielle Gordon (Flemington, N.J.) tied the game at three on another Buonacuore assist, with sophomore midfielder Kara Rafferty (Bayshore, N.Y.) putting the Ducks on top with a tally from Waybright.

The two teams traded goals to give the Ducks a 5-4 edge with 19:01 to play, but St. John Fisher closed the half on a 4-0 run to take an 8-5 margin into intermission. Junior midfielder Melissa Leonhard (Penfield, N.Y.) had three of the four goals with sophomore attack Taylor Hughes (Watertown, N.Y.) recording her second of the game.

The Ducks came back to make it an 8-7 contest behind scores from Rafferty and senior attack Jenna Scheibling (Long Valley, N.J.), but Hughes erupted for the Cardinals in the middle of the second half, netting the game's next four scores to give Fisher a 12-7 advantage with 10:29 left. Hughes' tallies came over a span of just 9:41.

Rafferty and Waybright scored back-to-back goals at 8:21 and 5:01 to give Stevens some late hope but freshman midfielder Lindsey Shoales (West Monroe, N.Y.) had the game's last tally for the final margin.

The Cardinals ended with a 22-20 edge in shots and Stevens had a 16-12 advantage in ground balls. Fisher won 15 of the 24 draw controls in the game.

Hughes finished with seven goals and two assists for nine points. She added two draw controls and a ground ball to her line. Leonhard finished with three goals and an assist along with four draw controls, and Shoales added a pair of tallies and three draw controls. Sophomore Caroline Trpcevski (Manlius, N.Y.) earned the win in goal for Fisher, making seven saves and picking up one ground ball.

Waybright led Stevens with four points on two goals and two assists. She also had four draw controls, a caused turnover and one ground ball. Rafferty had three goals, two draw controls and three ground balls, while Buonacuore handed out three assists.

Scheibling had two goals and two ground balls, and Galligan finished with a goal and three ground balls. Senior defender Ashley Carey (Mahopac, N.Y.) picked up a team-high four ground balls, had two draw control and a caused turnover. Junior goalie Meg Collins (Marshfield, Mass.) made six saves in the loss for the Ducks.

Stevens is now 4-2 in the Empire 8 Championship the last four years with two titles (2010 and 2011). Both losses have come at the hands of St. John Fisher (2009 and 2012). Since joining the conference in 2008, the Ducks are 5-3.

2012-05-05



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