#11 Susquehanna Handed First Loss by #17 Geneseo in NCAAs

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Susquehanna saw its historic season come to an end on Wednesday afternoon as the 11th-ranked Crusaders fell 15-7 to No. 17 SUNY Geneseo in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament.

SU (17-1) suffered just its first loss of the season after capturing its first-ever Landmark Conference championship title last Saturday. SUNY Geneseo (13-5) now moves on to the second round of the tournament. Susquehanna, meanwhile, ends its season with a program-record 17 victories.

The Crusaders got the game started with back-to-back goals, first from Brynn Reid (West Grove, Pa./Avon Grove) and followed by a score from Emma Ehler (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) for a 2-0 SU lead after six minutes of play.

Geneseo's Caroline Buoncore responded with back-to-back goals of her own to knot the game at 2-2 with 17:30 left to play. Those goals were part of a 5-0 Knights stretch that put them ahead by a 5-2 score with 9:08 remaining. Buoncore went on to finish with a game-high six goals.

"They [SUNY Geneseo] are a good team," Susquehanna head coach Laura Moan said about the Knights' 5-0 run. "They got over their nerves and they controlled the game for a stretch."

Ehler broke that stretch with a goal at the 5:59 mark for a 5-3 game but Geneseo was able to close out the half with three unanswered goals to hold an 8-3 halftime edge.

The Knights promptly came out of halftime and scored the first four goals of the second half to increase their lead to nine (12-3) with 20 minutes still to play.

The Crusaders refused to give in and rattled off a streak of four goals over an eight-minute span to close the gap to 12-7 with 8:42 remaining.

"Our team didn't give up," junior midfielder Michelle McGinniss (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) said. "We knew we had it in us and we didn't want to go down like that."

Unfortunately Geneseo netted three insurance goals over the final 5:39 of the game to clinch the 15-7 victory.

The teams were nearly even in shots with SU edging Geneseo by a 37-36 mark. The SU defense also forced 21 turnovers by the Knights.

Ehler and Reid each finished with two goals apiece with Ehler recording a team-high 13 shots. McGinniss had one goal, three ground balls and eight draw control wins.

Senior goalie Emily Stankaitis (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima) finished with seven saves.

* * * *

Selinsgrove Pa. – Playing in the NCAA Championship Tournament for the first time, Geneseo (13-5) exploded for a '6-7 win over previously undefeated Susquehanna (17-1) Wednesday in a first-round playoff game.

The Knights, who used a 12-1 to take control then held off the Crusaders' late charge, will play either Bowdoin or Bridgewater State in a second-round game Saturday. Saturday's second round will be part of a four-team regional; the other game features Cortland facing the winner of Wednesday night's Kenyon at Adrian game. The NCAA will announce the site of the weekend regional on Thursday.

"We prepared for this game just like we would for any other game,” said Carly Ritchlin, Geneseo's head coach. “We knew we could not let up for one second."

Senior Julie Bernatzky (Mount Sinai/Mount Sinai) made a career-high 18 saves as Geneseo held the high-scoring Crusaders to just seven goals on 25 shots on goal.

Susquehanna actually outshot the Knights 37-36.

Junior Caroline Buonocore (Syracuse/Westhill) scored a season-best six goals, all during Geneseo's explosive outburst.

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