MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The #9 York College women's lacrosse team saw their record-breaking 2012 campaign come to an abrupt end Wednesday afternoon with a 14-13 loss to host Montclair State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans conclude the year at 14-5 while the Red Hawks move onto the second round of the national tournament sporting a 14-5 mark.
Facing a significant 10-4 deficit late in the first half, the resilient Spartans embarked on what would prove a seven-goal run. Sophomore Erica Mulford, who posted a career-high eight points on six goals and two assists, began the offensive burst with 2:04 remaining in the first half. Leah Schultz followed that tally with a tremendous individual effort in front of the Red Hawk goal with 57 seconds remaining in the first to cut deeper into the Montclair advantage. Heading into the break, the Spartans found themselves trailing 10-6.
That Montclair advantage would evaporate over the first 11 minutes of the second half as the Green and White continued their offensive barrage. Once again kick-starting the attack, Mulford netted her fourth of the afternoon just over three minutes into the latter frame. She then provided the assist on the next two tallies as Kim Wayson and Kasie White registered back-to-back goals to bring York within a single tally at 10-9 with 24:19 remaining in the contest. Wayson then knotted the game at 10-10 just 40 seconds later as she finished off a pass from Jenna Hiponia.
Fittingly, it was Mulford who gave the Spartans their first lead since she netted the game's first goal just 42 seconds into the NCAA tilt. Mulford's fifth of the day allotted York an 11-10 margin with 19:06 left.
The remainder of the contest proved back-and-forth as neither side was able to gain a multiple-goal advantage.
Tied at 12-12 with 14:07 to play, courtesy of back-to-back goals from Montclair's Cora Delfini and a tally from Schultz, both attacks went quiet. Over the next eight minutes only two shots were recorded – one from each squad.
It would be Mulford who initially broke the deadlock and put York up 13-12 with just 5:49 remaining on the clock. The sophomore's career-best sixth goal of the game provided the Green and White with their final lead of the contest.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, Montclair came back to tie the game at 13-13 on Kailee Beal's 63rd of the season with 3:26 to play before Delfini posted the game-winner with just 39 ticks remaining on the clock.
For the game, the Spartans held a 34-26 lead in shots while their hosts snagged 29 ground balls to York's 26.
Aside from Mulford's career day, Wayson notched three goals and one assist while Schultz also found the back of the net three times while winning seven draw controls. Defensive standout Katie Vautier also registered seven draws, a career-high mark for the Spartan junior, while causing two turnovers.
Delfini led the way for the Red Hawks with seven points on five goals and two assists. Beal tallied four times while Tierney Conlon posted two goals and three helpers. Tiffani Henderson picks up the win the Montclair goal as she made 11 saves over her 60 minutes.
With the loss, the Spartans finish their outstanding 2012 season. Ranked nationally by the IWLCA for the first-time in program history, the Green and White reached as high as #9 this season. York set a new program record with 14 victories, reached the Capital Athletic Conference championship game for the first time, and placed a Spartan-record seven players on the all-conference squad with head coach Jen Muston collecting her second consecutive CAC Coach-of-the-Year honors. Receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, today's contest marked the first NCAA appearance for the Spartan program, which has only been a varsity squad since the 2006 season.
York now must bid adieu to their four Spartan seniors – Meaghan Doak, Kerry Felton, Ashley Kanzler, and Rachel Klado. Sporting just 14 players on the squad during their freshman season in 2009, these four have been part of the meteoric rise of the Spartan program over the last four campaigns. Since 2008, the Green and White have gone from a 7-10 squad in 2009, to 10-6 in 2010, 13-4 in 2011, and now 14-5 this season, including a Spartan-record 7-1 mark during the CAC's regular season.
PHOTO: Erica Mulford tallied career-bests in points (8) and goals (6) during York's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance on Wednesday. Courtesy of Brent Duffy - York College (Pa.) Athletic Communications Intern.