PROVIDENCE, RI– Freshman Allison Pazienski scored with 12 seconds left to send the Johnson & Wales University women's lacrosse team to its first GNAC Tournament Championship game. The Wildcats advanced thanks to a 9-8 victory over Emmanuel on Thursday in the semifinals.
Johnson & Wales: 13-5
Thanks to a Lasell upset of top seed St. Joseph's (ME), the Wildcats will host the fourth-seeded Lasers in the championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. JWU beat Lasell, 16-15, on April 23 with Pazienski (New Hyde Park, NY) scoring the winning goal that day as well.
The first of four Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, RI) goals gave Johnson & Wales a 3-2 lead 10 minutes into the game. Three-straight Kristen Tuleja goals and one from Savannah Lundwall gave the Saints a 6-3 lead at the 4:52 mark.
Emmanuel held or shared the lead until the final 12 seconds of the game. Pederzani's fourth goal at the 5:02 mark – her fifth multi-goal game in a row – tied the contest at 8-8. A turnover by EC's Amanda Cook gave JWU the ball back. Elizabeth Tonn's (Wantagh, NY) free position shot with 20 seconds went wide, but Lydia Knapp (Glens Falls, NY) came up with the rebound. Knapp got the ball to Pazienski and she beat Saints goalkeeper Lauren White for the winning goal.
The Wildcats defense stepped up in the second half, limiting Emmanuel to just six shots in the second stanza and none in the final seven minutes. JWU had a 29-17 advantage in shots and won 13-of-21 draw controls. The Saints held a slim 14-12 advantage in ground balls. White made 14 saves, compared to just five by JWU net minder Cristal Benton (Albany, NY).
Pederzani and Knapp scored two-thirds of the Wildcats' goals. Marissa Hart (Cohoes, NY) had a goal and two assists. Tuleja scored four of EC's goals with Savannah Lundwall and Sarah Higgins tallying the other two.