NEW LONDON, N.H. -- Senior midfielder Mallory Cottam (Hope, R.I.) netted a career-high seven goals, including the game-winning strike in overtime to give the fifth-seeded Simmons University women's lacrosse team an 10-9 victory over host number four seed Colby-Sawyer College this afternoon in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quarterfinals at Veitch Turf Field in New London, N.H. The Sharks improve to 10-6 on the season and register their third upset playoff victory in the last three seasons, while the Chargers end their season at 10-7.
Simmons advances to the GNAC semifinals, where it will take on top-seeded Johnson & Wales University, a 25-5 winner over number eight seed Norwich University, on Wednesday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Providence, R.I. The other semifinal will feature second seed Regis (Mass.), which defeated seventh seed Emmanuel College, 13-5, against third seed Lasell College, which defeated sixth seed Saint Joseph's College (Maine), 13-7.
The Sharks owned a decisive 30-19 shot advantage as well as a 13-9 margin on draw controls.
Cottam added a game-high seven ground balls, three draw controls and a trio of caused turnovers, while junior midfielder Kingsley Richards (Lexington, Mass.), sophomore midfielder Molly Reinhold (Mystic, Conn.) and senior attacker Missie Maiewski (Northampton, Mass.) each scored and assisted on a goal apiece for Simmons. Reinhold picked up three ground balls and led all players with seven draw controls and a career-high five caused turnovers, while Richards scooped up three ground balls and joined Maiewski with a caused turnover. Junior midfielder Amina Mansouri (Revere, Mass.) was active on the defensive side of the ball with five ground balls and three caused turnovers. Sophomore goalie Cat Cross (Beverly, Mass.) turned away five shots to earn the victory.
Colby-Sawyer was led by senior Sierra Schuster (Hopkinton, N.H.) with four goals, two assists and a couple of caused turnovers and senior Brittany Ireland (Amherst, N.H.) finished with a goal, two assists and three caused turnovers. First year midfielder Caroline Tompkins (Marblehead, Mass.) contributed for the home team with four ground balls and four caused turnovers. Junior goalie Kailyn Lapham (Medway, Mass.) finished with 13 saves in the loss.
The Sharks trailed by as many as three goals for the third time of the day, facing an 8-5 deficit with 13:42 left to play, before scoring four times in a span of six and a half minutes, including three from Cottam. Cottam sparked the rally with her 39th goal of the season coming with 7:49 showing on the second half clock. Mansouri found Maiewski just 90 seconds later to pull Simmons within a goal, before Cottam made her 40th marker of the year a big one, scoring at 3:59 on a free position shot to knot the contest at 8-8. The Sharks continued to lean on Cottam, who found the back of the net with just 1:18 remaining in regulation to give them their first lead since the 24:07 mark of the opening half.
Simmons looked to hold on for the win in regulation, but Schuster converted a free position opportunity with just 26 ticks left in the half to pull the Chargers even at 9-9 with her team-leading 51st tally of the year.
Reinhold won the overtime draw to set up a scoring chance for the Sharks. Cottam weaved through the Colby-Sawyer defense and deposited the ball in the back of the net for the game-winner with 1:38 left in the overtime. The goal was her second overtime winner in four days.
Simmons opened the scoring when Richards fed Reinhold with 24:07 to play in the first half. The Chargers answered with four unanswered goals from four different players, including a score from sophomore attacker Briana Couture (South Hadley, Mass.) at the 12-minute mark to give the hosts a 4-1 margin.
Cottam netted her first two goals of the day in just over two minutes time to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 8:43 to go in the opening half for the Sharks. Colby-Sawyer matched the two goals with a pair of its own, including a marker from Schuster with just 59 seconds before the final horn of the half. The Chargers took a 6-3 lead into the intermission.
Richards converted a pass from Maiewski for the first goal of the second stanza to bring Simmons to within two goals at 27:11. Both teams went scoreless for nearly 10 minutes, before Schuster restored Colby-Sawyer's three-goal cushion with a marker at 17:16. Despite the Sharks being down a player, Cottam still managed her third goal of the day to cut the margin to 7-5 with 14:44 to play in the half. Schuster scored her third goal as well, on the same penalty as Cottam, to make it 8-5 with 13:42 showing, before the Sharks began their spirited comeback.