Johnson & Wales Comes Back to Defeat Lacrosse in Overtime, 18-16

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Johnson & Wales University women's lacrosse team tallied three unanswered goals at the end of regulation and the first three scores in overtime to come away with an 18-16 victory over Simmons College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest this evening at the Scotts Athletic Complex in Providence, R.I. The Sharks fall to 4-7 overall and 2-4 in league play, while the Wildcats remain undefeated at 10-0 and 5-0.

Johnson & Wales scored three goals in the final 83 seconds of the second half to send the match into overtime. Junior midfielder Greer Gilbert (Falmouth, Mass.) tallied her team-high sixth goal of the evening with 1:46 to play in the second stanza to give Simmons a 15-12 lead. It was the Sharks' last goal of the night until late in the second overtime. Sophomore midfielder Lydia Knapp (Glens Falls, N.Y.) began the Wildcats' comeback with a marker just 23 seconds later to cut the deficit to 15-13. The Sharks' defense held strong for the next minute as senior goalie Crystal Derosier (Kingston, Mass.) turned back a free position shot from Johnson & Wales first year attacker Gabrielle Vasile (Milford, Mass.) with 22 seconds left in regulation. The home team retained possession and sophomore attacker Kayla Smith (Eastham, Mass.) found first year attacker Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, R.I.) for her third goal of the night with 18 ticks left on the clock. Simmons looked to hang on, but Knapp won the draw for the Wildcats and after being fouled dished to Vasile for the game-tying goal with just one second remaining in the second half to knot the match at 15-15.

Johnson & Wales scored the first three goals of the overtime periods with Pederzani finding the back of the net at the 2:24 mark of the first overtime to give the Wildcats a 16-15 edge. Vasile took advantage of the home team's momentum by scoring on a feed from Knapp with 2:12 to go in the second overtime. Knapp later scored her game-high eighth goal of the night to give Johnson & Wales an 18-15 margin with 1:18 showing on the clock, before first year Kasey Fries (Bridgewater, Mass.) broke the scoring string with a goal on a pass from junior middie Alexia Malone Oliver (Bristol, R.I.) for the Sharks coming with 46 seconds left in the second extra period to make it 18-16. Johnson & Wales secured the draw and played out the remaining seconds to hold on for the victory.

No more than two goals separated either team for the first 54 minutes of the contest. Simmons struck first, receiving goals from senior attacker Stephanie Oliveri (Waltham, Mass.) and Gilbert for a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats answered with a pair of goals on one each from Knapp and Smith to tie the game. Junior midfielder Ashley Sheehan (North Attleboro, Mass.) reclaimed the lead for the Sharks, before Gilbert followed with another goal to give them a two-goal margin with 17:56 to go in the opening half. Knapp and Gilbert traded scores to keep Simmons' two-goal cushion in place, before first year midfielder Elizabeth Tonn (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Smith scored back-to-back goals for Johnson & Wales to knot the score at 5-5. Oliveri and Gilbert restored the two-goal advantage for the visitors, before Vasile and Knapp bookended scores around an Oliveri tally to pull the Wildcats to within 8-7 to head into halftime.

Knapp opened the second period with a goal just 22 ticks into the stanza for Johnson & Wales, but junior attacker Alexa Faria (Cumberland, R.I.) answered for the Sharks to take back the lead at 9-8. The Wildcats took their first lead of the night when Knapp and Pederzani tallied consecutive markers to take a 10-9 edge at the 22:11 mark of the second half. Oliveri and Gilbert both found the back of the net to give Simmons an 11-10 lead, but Pederzani's second goal of the half for Johnson & Wales resulted in the game's sixth tie of the evening. The Sharks made a rush to put distance between themselves and their hosts with three straight tallies coming on a goal from Malone Oliver and a pair of free position tallies from Fries to give Simmons a 14-11 cushion with 6:02 left in the half. Knapp trimmed the deficit to 14-12 with a goal just 17 seconds later for the Wildcats. Neither team scored for the next four minutes until Gilbert's final goal of the night gave the Sharks a three-goal margin before Johnson & Wales' stunning comeback.

Gilbert added five draw controls, three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls to her scoring output for Simmons, while Oliveri finished with five points, including four goals to go with a draw control and a ground ball. Fries scored three times and Malone Oliver finished with two points on a goal and an assist in addition to four ground balls, a pair of draw controls and a caused turnover.

Knapp led all scorers with 11 points on eight goals and three assists for the Wildcats and added 12 draw controls, five ground balls and four caused turnovers. Pederzani scored four times, while Vasile netted three goals. Smith finished with three points, including a pair of goals and caused a turnover.

Senior goalie Genevieve Giampietro (Meriden, Conn.) made eight saves to earn the victory for Johnson & Wales, while Derosier stopped a season-high 17 shots for the Sharks.

Simmons returns to action on Saturday, April 11 when it hosts GNAC foe University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) on Winsor Field at 12:00 p.m., while the Wildcats host Saint Joseph's College (Maine) on the same day at 2:00 p.m.