Hartford, Conn. – Behind four goals and an assist from junior Molly Cox (Norwell, Mass.) the top-seeded Trinity College women's lacrosse team captured its fourth straight New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship, topping second-seeded Amherst, 10-7, on Sunday afternoon at Sheppard Field.
With the win, the Bantams improve to 15-2 on the season and received an automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA tournament. With the loss, the Lord Jeffs fall to 16-2 with both losses coming to Trinity in Hartford and are the runner-ups for the sixth time in program history. Trinity and Amherst, ranked No. 3 and No. 5 nationally, will await the NCAA tournament selection show to see their opponents in the first round.
Since dropping back-to-back games in mid-March, the Bantams have reeled off 11 straight wins.
"The key to our rise has been our growing sense of confidence," Trinity head coach Kate Livesay said. "After the one-goal win at Middlebury we knew that we could play with the best teams in the country and that has helped our team see their potential."
The victory capped an incredible four-year run for the Bantam seniors. Over their careers, the Class of 2014 has amassed a 75-4 overall record with four NCAA tournament appearances, four NESCAC titles and one National Championship.
"This is really special for our senior class," Livesay added. "They have put in so much hard work, especially this year with their leadership paving the way for the underclassmen. This group has played with some talented players throughout their time here and they've done a great job mentoring the younger players."
Cox led the offensive attack for Trinity, scoring all four of the team's goals in the second half. Senior Shea Kusiak (Longmeadow, Mass.) registered a goal and a game-high three assists for the Bantams, while Renee Olsen (Ridgewood, N.J.) added a pair of tallies and sophomore Martha Griffin (Exeter, N.H.) had a marker and a pair of helpers. Kathleen Timmons (Branford, Conn.) was the other Trinity player to have a multi-point game adding a goal and an assist.
Sophomore Rachel Passarelli and senior Krista Zsitvay paced the Amherst attack with two goals each. Both of Passarelli's goals came on free-position shots and Caroline Holliday had the other multi-point game for the Lord Jeffs with a goal and an assist.
Trinity came charging out of the gates, scoring the first four goals of game to take an early, 4-0, lead. The early outburst came in the first 10 minutes of the contest and was capped by a Kusiak goal on a free-position shot. Freshman Priscilla Tyler put Amherst on the board with a goal on a free-position shot with 15:49 left in the opening half. For the remainder of the stanza the conference rivals would traded goals as Trinity took a 6-3 lead into the break.
In the second half, Cox scored two unanswered goals to stretch the Trinity lead to five at 8-3. Ten seconds after Cox gave the Bantams a five-goal advantage, Zsitvay won a draw control and raced downfield to beat Trinity netminder Emily Mooney (New York, N.Y.). With just over 25 and a half minutes remaining in regulation, Cox brought the Bantams lead back to five with her third tally of the game. 12 minutes later, Holliday cut the deficit back to four at 9-5 with a goal. With nine minutes left on the clock, Cox closed out the Trinity scoring on a nice feed from Kusiak. Over the final 8:17 Amherst scored twice to make it a three-goal game, but the Bantams would hold off the late charge to earn the victory.
Mooney made eight saves for Trinity to earn her 14th triumph of the year, while Christy Forrest turned aside seven shots in a losing effort for Amherst. The Bantams held a 21-17 advantage in shots and the Lord Jeffs committed 21 turnovers to Trinity's 15.