MACON, GA. – Despite falling into an early hole, the fourth-seeded Mercer Bears edged out No. 1 Detroit Mercy 18-17 on Thursday, advancing to the SoCon Women’s Lacrosse Championship final on Saturday. The Bears were led by senior attacker Erica Coyne who registered four goals in the victory. Mercer got contributions all throughout the lineup, featuring six players who scored two or more goals as the Bears were able to fend off the charging Titans late in the second half to hang on for the win.
It was Lexie Kinmond and Titans who got on the board first, as the junior curled around the net and fired a shot on frame to put Detroit Mercy up 1-0. Less than a minute later, Lindsey Zeltwanger found Coyne who buried a shot to even the score at 1-1. The two sides would trade scores before the freshman of the year, Meredith Moore, recorded a pair of goals to put Detroit Mercy up 4-3.
Holding a 7-3 lead, Detroit Mercy looked primed to pull away early, but Mercer responded , scoring five unanswered goals to take an 8-7 lead with under two minutes to play in the half. With time winding down before the break, the 2018 SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, Kaitlyn Wandelt, went streaking down the field, firing a shot that would knot the game at 8-8.
Mercer struck first in the second half when Kelly Hagerty found the back of the net to put the Bears up 9-8. Kinmond, who was named first team All-SoCon, would answer to tie the game at nine goals apiece. With the score later tied at 12-12, Zeltwanger and Hagerty each scored to give Mercer a two goal advantage.
After Morgan Girardi scored a free-position goal to cut the deficit to one, the Bears scored four goals in a row to take a commanding 18-13 lead. As time was dwindling down, Girardi, a member of the All-SoCon first team, scored two goals in less than a minute. With 1:08 to play, Kinmond found Emma Leszczak to cut the deficit to just two. Seconds later, Jessica Snyder found the back of the net to make the score 18-17 with 32 seconds to play.
After Detroit Mercy won possession and called a timeout, Mercer’s Jo Imbriani won a draw control that helped seal the game for the Bears.
MACON, Ga. – Jumping out to an early lead, the No. 3 Furman Paladins defeated the No. 2 Central Michigan Chippewas 13-10 on Thursday. Abby Shields, Isabelle Walsh and Meg Lingo each scored three goals as Furman clinched its berth to the SoCon Women’s Lacrosse Championship final on Saturday.
Central Michigan got on the board first when Jessica Schurchardt found Shannon Doyle to put the Chippewas up 1-0 less than two minutes into the contest. Furman would respond quickly, scoring three unanswered to take a two-goal lead. After the two sides traded goals, Furman would jump out to a 6-2 lead courtesy of goals from Hannah Demis, Shields and Lingo.
With 12 minutes left in the half, Schurchardt found Jocelyne Lemay who converted to cut the Chippewas deficit in half. Natalie Karlen, who was named first team All-SoCon, earned a free-position attempt and buried it make the score 6-4. The Paladins notched a pair of goals before the half to go into the break with an 8-4 advantage.
Furman dominated to start the second half, extending its lead to six after goals from Walsh and Hannah Demis. The Chippewas would break the drought in the 44th minute when Karlen converted on another free-position shot. Two minutes later, Grace Pollak worked her way through the defense to make the score 11-5.
Central Michigan would charge back, scoring three in a row to make the score 11-8 in favor of the Paladins. With the score 12-10, Furman’s Abby Shields broke free and found the back of the net to make the score 13-10. The Paladins would fend off scoring chances down the stretch to clinch the victory.
Furman will face No. 4 Mercer, which topped Detroit Mercy 18-17 in the first semifinal on Thursday, in the championship match at noon on Saturday.
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SoCon Women’s Lacrosse Semifinals Thursday, May 3
Game 1: Mercer 18, No. 1 Detroit Mercy 17
Game 2: No. 3 Furman 13, No. 2 Central Michigan 10
SoCon Women’s Lacrosse Championship Saturday, May 5
No. 4 Mercy vs. No. 3 Furman