Gannon Rallies Past Seton Hill in PSAC Opener

ERIE, Pa. - Stevie Lombardoni's (Mexico, N.Y./Mexico) game-winning goal with 19 seconds remaining allowed Margaret Maslyn's (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) season-high 16 saves stand up as Gannon rallied for an 8-7 victory against Seton Hill Saturday afternoon in the PSAC opener at Gannon University Field.

Gannon extended its win streak to four matches with a second consecutive late-match rally. Three days after winning 12-11 at Notre Dame (Ohio) on Lombardoni's goal with 1:23 to play, the Lady Knights tallied another game-winner off Lombardoni's stick with 19 ticks remaining. The win streak is Gannon's longest since posting five straight wins March 14-April 2, 2013.

With temperatures in the 30's and wind gusts approaching 20 miles per hour at opening draw, Seton Hill controlled the early portion of the match. The Griffins scored the first two goals and held the Lady Knights scoreless for the first 10 minutes and 55 seconds.

Seton Hill stretched its lead to 4-1 at the 9:02 mark and held a 5-2 advantage after Christine Palmeri's score with 6:18 left in the first half. That's when Gannon was able to produce a little momentum heading into the halftime break. Christie Valentine (Friendship, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) found the back of the net twice during the final five minutes, including one with 46 seconds left to cut the deficit to 5-4 at the intermission.

Gannon tied the match at five 1:57 into the second half, creating the deadlock on Lombardoni's second goal of the match. Following a Seton Hill goal that put the Griffins back in front, Lombardoni pulled the teams even again with an unassisted tally at the 19:37 mark. Kimberly Neagle (Auburn, N.Y./Auburn) then gave the Lady Knights their first lead of the afternoon 3:02 later with an unassisted goal of her own.

Seton Hill answered back on Elizabeth Otwell's only score of the contest with 15:10 showing on the clock, producing the third tie of the second half. The two teams exchanged shots for the remainder of the half until Gannon regained possession and called time-out with 29 seconds left. The play designed in the huddle worked perfectly as Lombardoni finished a pass from Valentine for the game-winner with 19 ticks left.

The visitors had one last chance to tie the match after winning the ensuing draw. But a potential game-tying shot went wide with three seconds left and a second attempt was blocked as the horn sounded.

Lombardoni and Maslyn were the stars of the match. Lombardoni led all players on both sides in goals (4) and ground balls (7). Meanwhile, Maslyn was a stone wall throughout the contest, keeping Gannon within striking distance with a season-high 16 saves. She finished one save shy of her career-high (17) set during a 21-16 victory against Bloomsburg on April 6, 2012. Twelve of her 16 saves Saturday afternoon came during the second half.

Valentine and Neagle scored two times each. Tessa Mitchell (Rush, N.Y./Rush Henrietta), Kelsey Bright (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) and Valentine accounted for the Lady Knights' three assists. Paige Darby (Amherst, N.Y./Amherst Central) recorded six ground balls and caused three turnovers.

Seton Hill out-shot Gannon 34-21, including a 23-12 edge during the second half. The Giffins also held advantages in ground balls (42-29), draw controls (10-7) and fewest turnovers (18-23).

Gannon improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the PSAC with Saturday's verdict. Seton Hill dropped to 5-2 overall and 0-2 in conference action. The Lady Knights return to action Tuesday, March 25 against 15th-ranked Indiana (Pa.) at Gannon University Field. Game time is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.


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