Cincinnati Rallies, Scores at 0:03 to Nip Niagara

CINCINNATI, Ohio- Despite leading a majority of the game, Niagara could not hold onto its lead, eventually dropping a close 12-11 decision to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final three seconds of the contest Tuesday afternoon at Nippert Stadium.

"We played our hearts out today, and that's all we could ask for as coaches," head coach Wendy Stone said. "We need to be in close games like this to learn how to finish them out. Winning is a learned habit, and we took a great stride forward today."

A pair of Purple Eagles (0-5) each tallied two goals in the balanced Niagara attack, including Kayla Smith, Danielle Maio and Fran Pollastro, while Brittany Delano led Niagara with a trio of goals. Carrie-Jo Farrugia also pocketed two points with a goal and an assist.

Maio scored to begin the game, notching her season's third goal at the 27:43 of the first half. Pollastro, Farrugia and Delano put NU up 4-0 with 22:05 on the clock before the Bearcats finally got on the scoreboard off a score from Kylie Rasmland.

Cincinatti (2-1) would end the half on a 4-3 run, but the Purple Eagles headed into the first intermission holding onto a 7-5 lead after Maio added her second tally of the game with 12 seconds remaining.

Goalie Paige Sasser helped Niagara to the three-goal halftime lead, making five saves in the first 30 minutes.

After the Bearcats tied the game up at seven apiece with a pair of goals in the opening five minutes of the second frame, the teams traded tallies until Delano scored her third of the game to give the Purple Eagles a 10-8 advantage with 16:37 remaining in the contest.

Maria Battista followed with her first goal of the season giving NU a three-goal cushion that the Bearcats would dig themselves out of with 2:30 left on the clock led by a pair of scores from Megan Bell.

With three seconds showing on the clock and the game looking like it was headed into extra time, Taylor Young beat Sasser with her third goal to steal away the victory from the Purps.

"The team was ready to play ad left it all out on the field," added Stone. "I am very proud of the collective effort. We learned a lot today, and we will be better on Thursday when we play Detroit."

Sasser added four saves for a total of nine to earn her first career win.

Niagara wraps up the two-game road trip at Detroit Mercy on Thursday, March 7 at 2:00 p.m.


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