Wagner Battles Central Connecticut to Wire Before Falling

Staten Island, NY Wagner stood shoulder-to-shoulder with first-place and red-hot Central Connecticut, forging a 5-4 halftime lead and maintaining an 8-7 edge with 14 minutes to play, before the Blue Devils rallied to pull out an 11-9 win at soggy and cold Hameline Field.

CCSU, now winners of seven straight games, remain perfect in Northeast (NEC) Conference play and in a first-place tie with Monmouth at 6-0, while improving to 8-5 overall on the season. The feisty Seahawks, who made things difficult for Central Connecticut on both ends of the field all afternoon, fall to 5-10 overall, 1-6 in NEC play.

The freshmen tandem of Casey McCarthy (Cypress, TX/ Cy-Fair) and Stephanie Peterson, (Vernon, NJ/ Vernon Township) paced Wagner with two goals apiece. Five other Seahawks tallied one goal each in freshmen Shea Gegan (Manasquan, NJ/ Manasquan), Kimmy Tumolo (Mullica Hill, NJ/ Clearview) and Tori McGrath (Albany, NY/ Bethlehem Central), sophomore Jessica Mills (Vernon, NJ/ Vernon Township) and junior Michela Galante (Maplewood, NJ/ Columbia). Mills also led Wagner with two assists to bring her Seahawk single-season record total to 31, while senior Annie O'Connor (Syracuse, NY/ Westhill) added one assist.

Sophomore Shannon Sweeney (Madison, NJ/ Madison) gained her second start of the season and was credited with three saves. Gegan led Wagner in caused turnovers and, in doing so, became the Seahawks' all-time single-season leader in this category as she now has 35 caused turnovers, surpassing the previous Wagner record of 33 which was set by Stacy Murphy in 1998. Gegan also finished with a team-high three draw controls which move her into the team lead with 28.

After falling into an early 4-1 hole, Wagner played some of its best lacrosse of the season of the season, putting together an impressive 4-0 run over the final 12:23 of the half, kick-started by a pair of McCarthy goals. With 2:07 to go in the half, and Wagner with a man-up advantage, Galante sent a rocket past goalie Morgan Tullar, who entered the game with the NEC's top goals against average, to tie the game at 4-4. Peterson completed the run with an unassisted tally with 35 seconds left in the opening stanza which gave Wagner the 5-4 halftime lead.

The teams alternated goals to begin the second half with CCSU's Claire Healy tying the game at 5-5 just 27 seconds into the half. Mills converted a free-position shot at 22:33 to put Wagner ahead 6-5. Just 90 seconds later, Healy scored again which created the game's third tie at 6-6. The Seahawks then struck for back-to-back goals by Gegan, on a free-position shot, followed 33 seconds later by a Peterson goal which came off a pretty feed from Mills and made the game 8-6.

Undaunted, the Blue Devils answered with a 2-0 run of its own on goals by Betsy Vendel and Falynn McCartney, the latter coming at the 14:03 mark that forged the game's fourth tie at 8-8. Mills then found a cutting McGrath for a goal at 12:03 that put Wagner back out in front by a 9-8 count. A McCartney goal at 11:35 produced the game's fifth tie at 9-9. Vendel then went on to record goals at 10:12 and 6:37 to make it an 11-9 game and the Blue Devils hung on from there.

Healy and Vendel each turned in three-goal, one-assist outings to lead CCSU offensively while McCartney added two goals to the Blue Devils' cause. Tullar managed six saves in goal for Central Connecticut.

This game was as close statistically as it was on the scoreboard with Wagner holding a 21-17 edge in shots and a 13-9 advantage in draw controls. The Blue Devils led in ground balls, 17-14, but were held to 0 of 4 shooting on extra man opportunities while Wagner was successful on 2 of 5. Both teams had their way in free-position shots with Wagner converting 4 of 6 while CCSU was 4 of 5. An extremely physical contest, the teams received four yellow cards each.

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