Trinity Women's Lax Completes Comeback Against Hamilton To Reach NESCAC Finals
Hartford, Conn. – Sophomore attacker Shea Kusiak (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored a free position goal with 34 seconds on the clock in the first half of overtime to lead the Trinity College women's lacrosse team to a comeback 9-8 win over the visiting Hamilton College Continentals in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament Championship Semifinal on Robin Sheppard Field today. The Bantams, seeded No. 1 in the Tournament, improve to 15-1 and will play in the NESCAC Championship Finals at home tomorrow at noon against No. 2-seeded Middlebury College. Hamilton ends its season with a 7-10 record. Trinity won its first NESCAC title last spring, also on Sheppard Field.
Trinity trailed, 8-4, with 24 minutes remaining in regulation after the third goal of the game by Hamilton freshman Madison Beres (Chestertown, Md.). Trinity junior midfielder Megan Leonhard (Summit, N.J.) scored at the 22:33 mark, and first-year midfielder Caroline Hayes (Greenland, N.H.) scored at 19:38 to cut the Continental lead to 8-6, but Hamilton controlled possession for the vast majority of the next 15 minutes. Trinity junior defender Mallory Hinman (Longmeadow, Mass.) forced a critical turnover that eventually led to a free-position opportunity for Hayes who converted it one second past the four-minute mark.
Leonhard controlled the ensuing draw, and junior Kaitlyn Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.) appeared to tie the game but a foul was called prior to the shot. Hildebrand buried the free position, however, beating Hamilton first-year backstop Kari Koga (Eldorado Springs, Colo.) over the right shoulder with the game-tying goal. In overtime, Beres got off the first two shots but one was high and Trinity junior goalkeeper Olivia Whitney (Danvers, Mass.) stopped the second and maintained possession to give the ball to the home team and set Kusiak up for the clincher. Trinity held the ball for most of the second half of overtime, and Hamilton committed a turnover on its one possession of the three-minute session.
Trinity had gotten off to a fast start in the game, as junior attacker Hadley Duncan (Rye, N.Y.) and Hayes both scored in the opening minute. Hamilton responded with four straight goals to take a 4-2 lead, as sophomore attacker Katie D'Antonio (Garden City, N.Y.) ignited the run and Beres scored twice to highlight it. Trinity senior attacker Caite Irvine (Westwood, Mass.) scored 10 seconds after a goal by sophomore attacker Emily Brodsky (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) had completed the Continental spurt to make it a 4-3 game, and Leonhard tallied at the 8:18 mark to tie the game at 4-4. Hamilton closed out the first half with two goals, including a free-position shot by senior Lauren Sokol (Colts Neck, N.J.) with 11 seconds left in the opening frame.
Hayes and Beres led all scorers with three goals apiece, while Hamilton senior defender Meg Pengue (Fairfield, Conn.) scooped a game-high four ground balls, and Bantam junior defender Hillary McNamara (Milton, Mass.) notched three ground balls and three caused turnovers. Whitney made four saves in net for the Bantams, and Irvine recorded a game-high five draw controls. Koga and sophomore Dewi Caswell (Pennington, N.J.) combined for five saves in net for the Continentals. Trinity doubled up Hamilton, 14-7, on ground balls.