BLOOMSBURG, PA (LE MOYNE ATHLETICS) -
First Team All-American Jacqueline Jahelka scored three straight goals midway through the second half to lift top-ranked and top-seeded Adelphi University to an 11-7 victory over the second-ranked and second-seeded Le Moyne College women's lacrosse team in the NCAA Championships semifinals on Friday at Steph Pettit Stadium on the campus of Bloomsburg University.
Le Moyne finishes the season with a program-best record of 19-2. Adelphi advances to the national championship game for the fourth straight year and for the ninth time in the last 14 years. The Panthers are 7-1 in their previous nine championship games, with the lone loss coming last year against Florida Southern College, whom the Panthers will meet again on Sunday for this year's title.
Adelphi tallied the first two goals of the contest over the opening 4:47. Michele Scannell gave the Panthers their first lead of the day by converting a free-position shot at the 27:23 mark for her 35th goal of the season. Just over two minutes later, Alison Johnson found the back of the net for the 40th time this season to give her team a 2-0 lead and force a Le Moyne timeout with 25:13 left in the half.
Following six minutes of scoreless action, during which time Adelphi committed three turnovers, the Dolphins got on the scoreboard to ignite a 3-0 run. After taking a feed from sophomore defender Monica Sanna (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford), freshman midfielder Nicole Delany (Camillus, N.Y./West Genesee) netted her 35th goal of the season at the 19:12 mark. Following another Adelphi turnover, sophomore attacker Bryanna Fazio (Watertown, N.Y./General Brown) struck for her 23rd goal of the campaign with 17:09 left to tie the score at two after collecting a pass from freshman attacker Sidney Hall (Adams Center, N.Y./South Jefferson). Sanna put the Dolphins in front for the first time with 15:46 to go in the half by burying a free-position shot for her 11th tally of the year.
The Panthers tallied the final three goals of the half to take a 5-3 lead into the intermission. Beth Ann Pierce evened the score at three apiece with 13:04 left in the half off a feed from Scannell. Following 12 and one-half minutes of scoreless action, during which time Le Moyne had two turnovers and two shots saved and Adelphi had a shot saved, committed a turnovers and had two shots hit a post, the Panthers took the lead with 27 seconds remaining in the half. Jahelka put her team in front with her first goal of the day by converting a free-position shot. A Dolphin was carded on the goal for moving into the crease, so the Panthers were awarded the ensuing draw. In the extra-player situation, Jahelka found Casey Zalewski for her 40th goal of the year with seven seconds left in the half.
Le Moyne scored the first three goals of the second half to regain the lead. After Adelphi had three shots go wide and two shots saved over a four-minute possession to open the half, Delany found the back of the net off a free-position shot to get the Dolphins within 5-4 with 24:33 remaining. Sanna followed an Adelphi turnover with a free-position goal to knot the score at five apiece with 21:08 to play. Off another Adelphi turnover and yellow card on Jahelka, Delany went coast-to-coast in 15 seconds in the extra-play situation to net her 37th goal of the season with 19:53 left in the contest.
The Panthers responded with four straight goals to take control of the game. Following a save by Hailey Peterson, Scannell scored 66 seconds later to even the score at six with 16:03 to play. After the teams combined for five turnovers over 2:40, including two by the Dolphins in extra-player opportunities, the Panthers took the lead in a player-down situation as Jahelka finished off a pass from Pierce with 11:55 to play. Following a caused turnover and ground ball by Ryley Weber after the Dolphins had a goal disallowed due to coming after the whistle, Jahelka registered her 70th goal of the season with 7:48 to go for an 8-6 advantage. Jahelka put the Panthers up by three for the first time with her third straight goal with 6:34 remaining.
The Dolphins cut their deficit back to two with 4:26 to play. After putting one free-position high, senior midfielder Molly McGuane (Marcellus, N.Y./Marcellus) converted on her second chance 62 seconds later for her 21st goal of the campaign.
The Panthers won the ensuing draw and after working 1:48 off the clock, Zalewski scored seven seconds into an extra-player opportunity for her 41st goal of the season with 2:38 to play. Zalewski scored the game's final goal into an empty net in an extra-player situation with seven seconds left.
Freshman goalkeeper Hannah George (Johnson City, N.Y./Maine-Endwell) recorded five saves in between the pipes in suffering just her second loss of the season. Peterson tied her career high with nine saves, six of which came in the first half.
The senior class of McGuane, Vicki Graveline (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesee), Nicole Easterly (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill/Onondaga C.C.), Alexis Garbarino (Endwell, N.Y./Maine-Endwell) and Maggie Brown (Cortland, N.Y./Cortland) completes its career with a record of 67-14. The 67 wins and .827 winning percentage are the highest marks by a class in the program's history, eclipsing the class of 2016's 64 wins and the 2014 class's .816 winning percentage.
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