LEXINGTON, Va. -- In their sixth NCAA Division III Tournament appearance, the Meredith College women's lacrosse team lost a hard fought 13-10 battle to the Ithaca Bombers, ranked 20th in the latest national IWLCA poll. Holly Hite maintained tradition and led the match with 10 of Meredith's 18 draw controls, scoring a team-high four goals.
The pair met at Washington and Lee for round one action with Ithaca advancing to tomorrow's round versus the hosts.
Ithaca mounted a game plan that led to 35 shots, and Avenging Angels starting goalie Haley Whitfield stopped 11 during her 55 minutes of action. Led by Natalie Purcell with three, the Meredith defense caused seven Bomber turnovers with four other Angels interrupting the attack. Sarah Arbes led the draw for MC Lax, controlling two with seven ground balls throughout the contest.
Meredith's attack was led by Lilia Cruz with five points on a match-high four assists with one goal, and Olivia Higgs tallied four with three goals one assist. Julie Capretti scored one goal early in the second half, and Olivia Blake found the net once during the first stanza. The Avenging Angels went 2-for-2 from the eight-meter line with Higgs and Hite on the line for one apiece.
Ithaca's Jacqui Hallack led the Bombers with four goals, adding one assist, and Reid Simoncini interfered with the Angels' attack recording five caused turnovers in the win.
The teams went one-for-one during the first seven minutes of play, but the Bombers reclaimed the lead for good on back-to-back goals through the next three minutes of action. A faulty substitution sent Bomber Megan Motkowski to the penalty box, and Cruz found Blake in the crease for an Angels goal. Ithaca forced a turnover on the next series and maintained the lead with a point from Elizabeth Rice to finish the play.
Hite collected the next draw, but Capretti's shot flew wide. Meredith recovered the ball, and Cruz slipped around the post to score a solo goal to trim Ithaca's lead back to one. Arbes collected the next draw but a shot from Cruz missed the mark.
Petrusa was called for a foul after the clear, but Whitfield blocked a free position attempt from Katie Welch. Ithaca recovered the ball and Rice extended the Bombers lead back to two just past the midpoint of the first half.
Another draw to Meredith, this time to Hite, gave MC Lax another chance, but an offensive foul directed the ball back to Ithaca's offensive third.
With 8:11 left in the period, the Bombers doubled Meredith's score for an 8-4 advantage, and Head Coach Lauren Scott called for a timeout to settle the Angels.
Higgs ended the drought with an eight-meter point to leave Meredith trailing by three at 4:33. But another Ithaca draw left the Avenging Angels protecting the box once more. Whitfield recorded another save to send her team back down field.
Each team would score once more during the next three minutes with Whitfield and the Meredith defense closing off a late Bomber attack to enter the break down by three.
The Angels opened the second stanza with the draw to Arbes, and Hite rolled one in from center crease. Whitfield stopped the Bombers response, but a midfield turnover gave Ithaca the ball. Meredith's defense earned another stop, but the Angels were unable to score.
Purcell forced a Bombers turnover, and an IC yellow card gave the Angels the advantage for their eighth point. Capretti scored the goal with another assist to Cruz.
Ithaca seemed to put the match out of reach scoring the next three goals, but Hite interrupted the effort with her free position score. Higgs netted one more before the Bombers entered a game-delay strategy to close out the match for the win.