Keuka women's lacrosse rallies to defeat Hartwick

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Junior Taylor Smith (Webster-Schroeder) scored five goals, including the winner off a missed shot with just 33 seconds left, as the Keuka College women's lacrosse team rallied past Hartwick College 7-6 on a chilly Wednesday afternoon at the Jephson Community Athletic Complex.

It was Smith's second five-goal game of the season, as she equaled her career-high for goals in a game.

Keuka (2-1) won despite being held scoreless for nearly 22 minutes in the first half, and another stretch of nearly 17 minutes in the second half.

"I came up in front of Maggie (Mercurio) and saw there was a loose ball, so I picked it up, felt I had a wide-open look on goal, and I just shot it and scored," Smith said.

"Our defense did a really good job of holding the ball and not letting them shoot or get close. Maggie is one of our players who came up big and stepped up huge once one of our other defenders went out. It was a total team effort. We have such heart and we played smart and didn't give up."

After Hartwick (3-4) took a 5-3 lead on Kia Ference's goal with 19 minutes and 22 seconds remaining in the second, Keuka scored three goals during a five-minute stretch to take a 6-5 lead.

Junior Maggie Bonafede (Churchville-Chili) scored an even-strength goal off a feed from sophomore Jennifer Burt (Penn Yan) to slice the deficit to 5-4, then Smith notched two goals 1:41 apart to put Keuka ahead 6-5.

The tying goal came on a free-position shot with 13:58 to play, before Smith put Keuka up by one after sophomore Kaycee Maguire (Potsdam) found Smith slashing towards the goal with 12:17 remaining and Smith beat goalie Steph Luce into the lower-right corner of the goal to complete the comeback.

Hartwick had an answer, as Lisa Littleton's second goal of the contest pulled the Hawks even at six with 9:40 remaining.

From there, the Green and Gold controlled possession and limited Hartwick's shots. Hartwick mustered only one shot on goal over the final 5:30, when Meg Luce scooped up a groundball and fired high on senior goalie Molly Hogan (Horseheads). But the reigning North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Defensive Player of the Year snared the high shot with her stick, and Hartwick didn't threaten the rest of the way.

Maguire and Bonafede each had open looks on goal, but Steph Luce (11 saves) turned away each scoring opportunity. With 35 seconds remaining, the Green and Gold pressured Luce, with Bonafede launching a shot that caromed out to Smith. Smith scooped up the groundball and sent the game-winning goal into the lower corner of the net to give the Storm the lead for good.

Hartwick won the ensuing draw, but the Storm caused a turnover and after Maguire picked up the last of her three groundballs, Keuka escaped with the win.

"This was a nice win, we needed a big boost because we were all upset (after the Clarkson loss)," Mercurio said.

"This was awesome, I can't stop smiling and I was really happy I could step in and do my job to help this team."

Bonafede and Burt each had a goal and an assist while Smith scooped up five groundballs and freshman Samantha Staino (Brockport) added four groundballs for the Green and Gold.

Burt and classmate Olivia Hudson (South Jefferson) each added three groundballs while Smith and senior Sam Layton (Corning West) each caused three turnovers for the Storm. Hudson also won five of Keuka's six draw controls.

Littleton and Emily Jweid each scored two goals for the Hawks, who had their two-game win streak snapped.

This was the second straight year Keuka prevailed over Hartwick. The Storm handed the Hawks a 16-9 setback on March 27, 2012.

The Green and Gold host Adrian (Mich.) College at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

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