GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (May 12, 2017) – Despite a five-goal performance from sophomore Hunter Isnardi (Hicksville, N.Y. / Hicksville), the No. 5 seeded Mercy College women's lacrosse team dropped a 12-10 decision to No. 4 seeded University of New Haven in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon.
The Mavericks (16-4) end their season with the most wins in program history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. The Chargers (15-4) will take on No. 1 seed Adelphi tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Isnardi finished the afternoon with a game-high five goals and four draw controls, while grabbing one ground ball. The sophomore set the NCAA Division II single-season record for draw controls during the contest. Freshman Brittani Sergio (Lake Grove, N.Y. / Sachem North) added three goals and two draw controls. Graduate student Alexa Haines (Lindenhurst, N.Y. / Lindenhurst) and freshman Katherine Sanchez (Freeport, N.Y. / Freeport) both added one goal apiece. Senior Tori DiFusco (Mahopac, N.Y. / SUNY Cortland) added one ground ball and one caused turnover for the Mavericks defense. Senior Jillian Rocco (Dix Hills, N.Y. / Half Hollow Hills East) made the start in the cage for Mercy, recording two saves in 30 minutes of action. Junior Shianne Judson (Bayshore, N.Y. / Bayshore) played the remaining 30 minutes, making three saves.
For the Chargers, Jessica Mazliah recorded four goals, two assists, one ground ball, and one caused turnover. Kendall Cietek had three goals, one assist, one ground ball, and one draw control. Nicole Belander had two goals and one assist, while Caitlin Obrien added two goals. Mackenzie Reh chipped in one goal and added two assists. Gianna Guerra played a full 60 minutes in the cage, recording eleven saves.
New Haven was the first to score in the battle, with Cietek putting the Chargers on the board in the first six minutes with an unassisted goal. Belander and O'Brien added a goal apiece within the next six minutes to give the Chargers a quick 3-0 lead to open up the game. Isnardi was not going to let that happen, as she quickly put an end to the New Haven tear and scored an unassisted goal with 17:20 left on the clock. The Mavericks kept the momentum alive, as Haines and Sergio were both able to score within a thirteen second window, quickly tying the game 3-3 with 13:34 left to go in the first half.
Four minutes would go by without either team finding the back of the net, until Belanger broke the silence off a pass from Jessica Mazliah, to give the Chargers a 4-3 lead. Mazliah then found the cage herself two minutes later, giving New Haven a 5-3 lead with 6:07 on the board. Sergio was able to put the game within one goal less than two minutes later when she capitalized off a free position shot. However, New Haven was able to get the ball back in their hands with 3:41 on the clock when Cietek scored off a free position shot. The Chargers then won the draw control, allowing Mazliah to find the back of the cage once more, increasing the New Haven lead to 7-4. A Chargers turnover in the last minute of play gave the Mavericks a scoring opportunity, as they executed a successful clear and allowed Isnardi to find the back of the net. A successful draw control from Hope Coticchio (West Babylon, N.Y. / West Babylon) would give Mercy the ball back, eventually allowing Sergio to score her third goal of the game off a free position shot. The Mavericks entered halftime trailing 7-6.
New Haven opened up the scoring in the second half when Cietek scored unassisted in the first three minutes of play. Mazliah was then able to find the back of the net after Reh fed her the ball to give the Chargers a 9-6 lead. A free position shot from Isnardi ended the Chargers scoring run for the second time this afternoon, as she brought the score to 9-7 with 23:31 on the clock. New Haven was able to put two more quick goals in to increase their lead to 11-7. Isnardi continued to fight, as she found the back of the Chargers net unassisted. However, Reh was able to record one last goal for the Chargers unassisted. Two goals from Sanchez and Isnardi would bring the score to 12-10 with 10:31 left on the clock, but the Mavericks were unable to score for the remainder of the game and eventually fell to the Chargers 12-10.
Mercy held a 30-23 edge in shots and 17-7 edge in draw controls, while New Haven maintained a 10-4 advantage in ground balls.