By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – For the first time since 2016 and for the second time in program history, Capital University Women's Lacrosse is advancing to the championship game of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament after getting revenge against John Carroll University in a thrilling down-to-the-wire 12-11 battle.
After taking an early lead and then fighting back to tie the game at 11, Kathryn Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) scored the game-winning goal with 37 seconds remaining. Regan Hanood (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) started the play by running into the John Carroll end and found Walton darting towards the cage from the right side who then slotted the ball into the net past Elyssa Zablo.
John Carroll's potent offense still had ample time to attempt to tie the contest after a timeout but a scrum in front of Capital's net produced no shot as players for both teams fought their hardest to win control. During the melee the clock hit zeroes and Capital won by the same score as its first loss of the season to John Carroll in March.
Walton tied Makenna Ozenghar (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney) for the team lead with three goals. Ozenghar also had an assist.
The Crusaders and Blue Streaks finished the first half with seven goals apiece. John Carroll trailed 7-5 with five minutes left in the first period but took an 8-7 lead five minutes into the final 30. Taylor Thomas (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) tied the game at eight but the Blue Streaks retook the lead with 15:47 left to play. Walton then kicked off a three-goal run for the Crusaders to go up 11-9 but Meghan Harte and Grace Curatolo then tied the contest again before Walton found the back of the net for the 63rd time this season.
The Crusaders outshot John Carroll 32-22 in the game and limited the Blue Streaks to only eight second-half attempts. Capital also had five fewer turnovers and had three more ground balls than JCU.
Ozenghar got the scoring started less than a minute into the game before JCU tied it and Kara Hines (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) and Thomas gave Cap a two-score advantage. Walton scored her first of the night about eight minutes into the game to give Capital a 4-2 lead but two goals from JCU knotted the score again. The two sides traded goals to make the score 6-5 in Capital's favor before Hines scored her second and the Blue Streaks tied it up.
Goalkeeper Lisa Lotz (Lynchburg, Va./Jefferson Forest) made four saves and Zablo made seven.
With the win Capital (14-2, 6-2 OAC) clinched its spot in the conference tournament championship against the winner of the No. 1 University of Mount Union and No. 4 Baldwin Wallace University. If the Purple Raiders beat the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night Capital will travel to Alliance on Saturday, May 5. If the Yellow Jackets win, Capital will host BW at Purmort Field at Bernlohr Stadium on Saturday.