SELINSGROVE, Pa. - The Meredith College lacrosse team ended a thrilling season Wednesday afternoon with a tough 18-14 loss to the Susquehanna Crusaders in first round action of the 2014 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse tournament. Katie Burnet led the Avenging Angels with nine points on six goals and three assists.
In the program's second season as a varsity sport, Meredith earned the USA South's automatic qualifier after claiming the conference tournament title in April. The Crusaders earned an at-large selection as the runner-up in the Landmark Conference and will advance to Saturday's second round versus The College of New Jersey.
In spite of the unfamiliar post-season experience, the Meredith Angels came out fighting and scored first on a Molly Miller-Burnet combination.
Susquehanna scored the next three before Miller found Burnet again to pull Meredith to within one at 22:15.
SU's leading scorer Emma Ehler extended the Crusader lead to two on a free position shot in the next minute, and Avenging Angel rookie Raven Winters countered with an unassisted score on the other end.
Winters controlled the next draw, and Burnet recovered a saved attempt by Jennifer Halvorson. Junior captain Lottie Meadows collected the loose ball on the next play and scooped in a goal to tie the game at four with 17:32 remaining in the half.
The Crusaders claimed the next draw and transitioned quickly to regain the lead 5-4.
Meredith's Victoria Doyle controlled the next draw but an unforced error gave Susquehanna back the ball. Avenging Angel keeper Anna Adcock defelected the SU attempt to give Burnet and Miller another combination goal to even the score yet again.
In the next series Meadows gathered a saved attempt from Burnet and finished the play to give Meredith their first lead since the opening goal. Burnet extended the lead to two after taking her defender one-on-one to the net with less than four minutes left in the period.
A pair of critical missteps by the Avenging Angels helped the seasoned Susquehanna squad claim an 8-7 lead on a trio of scores late in the half.
But Danielle Lee's defense in the final seconds of the period held off a final attack to hold SU to a one-point lead heading into the intermission.
Susquehanna took advantage of the momentum with a pair of quick goals to extend the Crusader lead to three in the first two minutes of second-half action.
A determined Avenging Angels' squad continued to battle, and Burnet caused a turnover on the next play to give Meredith the ball. She finished the series with an eight-meter goal to pull MC to within two.
Doyle controlled the next draw, and Winters found a wide-open net for the score. A second consecutive draw control, this time in the hands of Meadows, gave Burnet another solo score to tie the game at 10s with 24:57 remaining in regulation.
SU began to pull away scoring the next four goals, and forced Head Meredith Coach Lauren Scott to whistle for a timeout.
The Crusaders managed to find the net once more to extend the lead to five with 20:57 left in the game.
A critical save from Meredith's Adcock interrupted SUs momentum and gave the offensive control back to the Angels. A missed attempt at the net gave SU the ball, but Adcock forced a Crusader turnover to hold off the attack.
Double-teamed by the defense, Burnet dished off to Doyle for the score to end the Susquehanna run.
Burnet controlled the next draw and dished off to Winters. Winters cruised down the field and fed Meadows cutting across the middle for a goal to pull Meredith to within three with 16:23 remaining in regulation.
Susquehanna won the draw but an aggressive Meredith defense battled SU for 1:34 before the Crusader attempt was saved by Adcock.
An unfortunate error ended the clear attempt and gave the ball back to SU. The Crusaders scored and forced another Meredith timeout.
Susquehanna scored two more points to give SU an 18-12 lead.
SU controlled the next draw, but Winters forced a Crusader turnover to send the ball back down field.
Burnet found the net on a pass from Winters to cut the deficit to five with just over six minutes remaining in the match.
A Meredith penalty left the Avenging Angels vulnerable, but the defense handled the pressure. An unforced error gave the ball back to MC, and Burnet found Winters for the final goal of the game.
Meadows and Winters posted three goals apiece for Meredith, and Winters added a trio of assists and three draw controls. Doyle finished with five draw controls, three groundballs and a goal, and Adcock posted seven saves in the loss.
Susquehanna's Ehler shared a game-high six goals, three assists with Burnet, and Michelle McGinniss added five goals, two assists.
"Its been an incredible experience, a great learning experience overall. ... There's a lot of good lacrosse up North, and we can play with them," said Burnet in a post-game interview session. Link HERE for the full interview with Burnet and Coach Scott.