#14 Ithaca Outlasts Stevens to Advance to Empire 8 Title Game

ITHACA, N.Y. Top-seeded and 14th-ranked Ithaca (12-5) outlasted visiting Stevens (8-10), 17-11, during Empire 8 semifinal action Saturday at Higgins Stadium. The Bombers will face the winner of the today's 3:00 p.m. semifinal between second-seeded and 20th-ranked St. John Fisher and third-seeded Nazareth Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

The Bombers advance to the Empire 8 title game for the fourth time in as many years and eighth time since 2003. Ithaca claimed the championship in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2008.

Senior Tracy Rivas (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) netted a game-high six scores and added one assist to tie Ithaca's all-time points record of 248. Rivas has a school-record 182 goals and 66 assists during her tenure. She shares the record with Michelle Schlegel who has owned it since 2004 on 160 goals and 88 assists.

The game was tied on seven occasions, lastly at 9-9. A Kim Armbruster (Boonton, N.J./Montville) score with one minute lingering in the first half gave the Bombers and 8-7 edge at intermission. Stevens netted two of the first three goals in the second to knot the game at 9-9 before Ithaca rattled off six straight to take control of the game. The Ducks pulled within 15-11 at 14:30, but Rivas and Armbruster tallied the last two scores for a 17-11 final.

Armbruster, a senior, had a career-high five scores, while junior Becky Guzzo (Baldwinsville, N.Y./C.W. Baker) matched a career-high four assist and added a goal. Freshman Allison Runyon (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport) scored a pair and senior Kaitlyn Hoffay (Ithaca, N.Y./Ithaca) netted one and handed out one assist. Senior Nikki Dahl (Columbus, Ohio/The Wellington School) and freshman Riley Marion (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) accounted for Ithaca's other two scores.

Dahl had contest-bests of nine draw controls and two caused turnovers. Armbruster added six draws and senior Michelle Avery (Norwalk, Conn./Brien McMahon) chipped in a game-best five ground balls.

Ithaca outshot the Ducks, 40-18, held a 22-17 gap in ground balls and won 20 draws to Stevens' 11. The Ducks committed 17 turnovers, while Ithaca had 10.

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ITHACA, N.Y. (May 4, 2013) No. 1 seed and 14th-ranked Ithaca used a 6-0 run in the second half to propel itself to a 17-11 victory over fourth-seeded Stevens on Saturday in the Empire 8 semifinals at Marty Higgins Stadium.

With the win, Ithaca advances to the Empire 8 title game on Sunday against the winner of third-seeded Nazareth College and second-seeded St. John Fisher College. The loss for Stevens ends its season with an overall mark of 8-10, the team's seventh-straight appearance in postseason play and the sixth-straight Empire 8 Tournament.

Ithaca had a 40-18 advantage in shots and 22-17 edge in ground balls. Ithaca won 20 of 31 draw controls and had 10 turnovers compared to 17 for Stevens.

The first half was back-and-forth with the two teams going blow for blow. Senior attack Tracy Rivas (East Meadow, N.Y.) started the scoring, tallying unassisted 8:47 in, with senior midfielder Spencer Waybright (West Hartford, Conn.) answering for the Ducks to tie the game 50 seconds later.

Ithaca came back to take a 2-1 margin, and Stevens quickly retaliated with a free-position goal from the stick of freshman midfielder Erika Wilcox (Baldwinsville, N.Y.).

The see-saw affair continued with a Bomber score 29 seconds after the Wilcox score, but Rafferty answered for Stevens with her 60th goal of the season, seeing Ithaca goalie Jess Worthman (Commack, N.Y.) out of position and drilling a shot from 12-yards out.

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