STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In its first trip to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championships, Mercer fell to host Wagner, 13-9, in the play-in game at Hameline Field on Wednesday afternoon.
The Bears ended their fourth season in program history with a 9-11 record after earning the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Wagner (14-5) advances to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, where it will face No. 7 Towson in Towson, Md.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After the Seahawks appeared to take control just 10 minutes into the first half with a 4-1 advantage, Mercer stormed back to tie the game, 5-5, at halftime. Mercer found the back of the net for four of the final five goals in the first half, led by two goals from Jo Imbriani.
Imbriani sparked the rally with an unassisted goal at the 16-minute mark and was followed by another unassisted goal by Lindsey Zeltwanger, who then assisted Kate Leone's score that tied the game at 4-4. Wagner pulled ahead with 6:36 left in the half before Imbriani knotted the contest with just 12 seconds remaining before the intermission. Mercer goalie Iseabal Cryne tallied eight saves in a strong first-half performance to keep the Bears within striking distance heading into the final 30 minutes.
Two pivotal runs by the Seahawks in the second half but the contest just out of reach for Mercer, which was unable to make up ground with four second-half goals. Wagner struck first with just over 25 minutes remaining in the contest and took a three-goal lead by 23:53. Kate Leone and Zeltwanger pulled Mercer within one goal, 8-7, with scores at 22:21 and 18:47, but a four-goal run by Wagner followed and gave the Seahawks a 12-7 lead.
Sami Van Slyke and Kelly Hagerty both scored with less than seven minutes but were unable to muster Mercer to a final rally.
» Mercer competed in its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
» Eight of Iseabal Cryne's 10 saves came in the first half. She recorded 10-plus saves for the seventh time this season.
» Mercer was 19-of-21 on clears, outperforming Wagner (17-of-23).
» Kate Leone, Jo Imbriani and Lindsey Zeltwanger all tallied two goals apiece to lead Mercer.
» Zeltwanger added one assist and two groundballs.
» Audrey Robertson recorded a team-high four caused turnovers and three groundballs.