GRANTHAM. PA. – Annika Johnsen scored from the free position with 16 seconds remaining in regulation as the nationally fourth-ranked Messiah women's lacrosse team thwarted a Cortland comeback and defeated the 14th-ranked Red Dragons, 14-13, Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Div. III second round.
Senior Makenzie Annable (Navarino/Onondaga) and sophomore Carly Stone (Syracuse/Jamesville-DeWitt) led Cortland (14-5) with three goals each. Senior Kristen Ohberg(Brewster) tallied a team-high five points on two goals and three assists. Freshman Lexie Meager (Syracuse/West Genesee) netted two goals, and seniors Nicolette Tortorici(Deer Park) and Kaitlin Antelmi (Bridgeport/Chittenango) and junior Hannah Elmer (Syracuse/West Genesee) each scored one goal.
Senior goalie Jaclyn Beshlian (Wantagh) made eight saves and collected three ground balls for the Red Dragons. Junior Liza Ferro (Cortland) caused three turnovers, Tortorici won four draw controls, junior Katie Wolfe (East Amherst/Williamsville North) secured three draws and Ohberg contributed two caused turnovers and three ground balls.
Stephanie Athens notched a game-high five goals for the Falcons (16-2). Johnsen finished with three goals, and Ida Ehrhardt chipped in with two goals and eight draws. Courtney Wagner tallied one goal and two assists, while Allie Colson, Eliza Lortie and Elle Bargar each scored a goal.
Goalie Alexa Dipeso registered 12 saves. Brooke Gamble scooped up four ground balls, Claire Griffin caused two turnovers and AThens added three draws.
Cortland opened up a 4-1 lead less than 10 minutes into the game, but the Falcons rallied for five straight goals to take a 6-4 edge with 12:29 remaining in the half. The Red Dragons netted four of the next five goals and led 8-7 with 25 seconds on the clock before Johnsen's free-position goal with one second left knotted the game at 8-8.
Messiah built a 12-9 advantage less than 10 minutes into the second half, but the Red Dragons chipped away at the lead, netting four straight goals to eventually take a 13-12 lead with 3:52 to play on Elmer's goal. Ehrhardt tied the game at the 2:38 mark, and Stone won the ensuing draw control for the Red Dragons, which led to a free-position attempt with just under a minute to play. Dipeso denied the try by Meager, and the Falcons worked a good clear. With 18 seconds remaining, Cortland was whistled for a foul and Johnsen scored what proved to be the game-winner two seconds later. Cortland secured the following draw but turned the ball over in the closing seconds before having a chance to score the equalizer.
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