WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Freshman Marial Pierce (Middleburg, Va./St. John's Catholic) gave the Monmouth University women's lacrosse team (2-5) a 9-8 win over Saint Joseph's (5-2) on Wednesday afternoon on Kessler Field, when she scored her fourth goal of the game with 2:01 remaining in the first overtime period.
Pierce, a midfielder, tied the game up at 8-8 with 1:47 to play after Saint Joseph's had pulled ahead by one with a Abby Ananian goal at the 2:58 mark. In overtime, SJU got a shot early in the period which was blocked by the MU defense. Monmouth goalie Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Secondary) picked up the loose ball and fed the ball upfield where MU called a timeout. Coming out of the timeout Pierce went to goal and beat SJU netminder Genevieve Giblin with 2:01 remaining in the period. With 40 seconds left Saint Joe's attacker Megan McDevitt had an opportunity to tied the game on a free position shot after a yellow card, but the fifth year senior's shot sailed wide. Monmouth was awarded the ball and the home Hawks were able to run out the clock.
"I think more than anything we believed in our selves today," said head coach Denise Wescott. "In the huddle our team said 'we can do this.' We needed to score at the end and Marial did it. She was left open and the goalie overstepped it and it was nice to see that she didn't hesitate. The defense did a lot to stop them at the end. Katie made so many big plays, the save at the end of regulation, the interception she made late. In the beginning of the game we turned the ball over a little too much but overall it was a great team effort."
Pierce finished with four goals and an assist for a career-high five points. She also added three ground balls, two caused turnovers and four draw controls in the win. Saint Joseph's Val Paolucci had four goals, all in the first half, and a pair of assists for six points while Ananian also had six points on three goals and three assists.
The teams went back and forth throughout the game with Saint Joseph's largest lead of two goals coming right before the end of the first half on Ananian's first goal. With a 4-2 SJU lead, fifth year senior Erica Abendschoen (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) and Pierce combined for back to back goals to tie it up at 4-4 with 7:49 to play in the opening frame.
It took Monmouth less than three minutes to tie it up coming out of halftime, with senior Sam Savona (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty/FDU) scoreing at the 27:40 mark to cut the lead to one. Fifteen seconds later Pierce tallied an unassisted goal to tie it up at 6-6. Monmouth took its first lead of the game when sophomore Emily Barbieri (Parsipanny, N.J./DePaul Catholic) took a feed from Abendschoen and beat Giblin with 19:12 left in regulation. Saint Joe's answered back with a Ananian goal to knot it up at 7-7 and the junior put her squad ahead with 2:58 to play. Pierce's third goal tied it up with 1:47 left but Ananian and SJU had a chance to win it in regulation with 10 seconds left but Donohoe made a clutch save to send the game into extra time.
Donohoe made five saves as Saint Joe's outshot MU 20-16. Giblin made four saves in the game.
Pierce led the way for MU with five points while Cassie Campasano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip/Jacksonville) added two first half goals, and the Hawks got a goal each out of Abendschoen, Savona and Barbieri. Freshman Kristina Vangeli (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) had six draw controls for MU while senior defender Gianna D'Urso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) had tow ground balls and two caused turnovers in the contest.
Monmouth will next travel to Buffalo, N.Y. to face future Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Canisius College on March 19 at 4 p.m.
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