By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
ALLIANCE, Ohio – Capital University Women's Lacrosse showed the offensive firepower they have used all season to reach the Ohio Athletic Conference title game on Saturday night by putting on an 8-3 run against the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders at the end of the first half and start of the second. Unfortunately for Capital, Mount Union had already earned itself a five-goal advantage and ended the game with three goals in a row to beat Capital 11-8 and claim the OAC crown.
The Purple Raiders struck first with a goal by Marjie McNamara at the 26:54 mark on a free position shot that was started after Mount Union turned aside a free position chance by Capital. Mount Union got its second goal a minute later and the purple Raiders scored three more times before the Crusaders got on the scoreboard.
At the 10:10 mark, Kathryn Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) found the back of the net off of an assist from Makenna Ozenghar (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney) to make the deficit 5-1. The Crusaders earned five free position shots before that breakthrough goal but all five were saved by Mount Union goalkeeper Mimi Curtis.
Capital cut the lead to three after Ozenghar scored a goal of her own with two and a half minutes until halftime. The teams each had 14 shots at the half but Curtis' nine saves were the difference.
Ashley Bernardi, who scored three free position goals in the first half, scored another goal 14 seconds into the second half to increase Mount's lead to four. Kailee King (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Jerome) responded three minutes later with her first goal of the night with 26 minutes left to play.
After another Mount Union score, Taylor Thomas (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) got her name on the scoresheet and King scored her second of the night off a feed from Hanood. King then assisted on a goal by Walton that made it a one-goal game. King then tied the game with her third score of the contest with 16:29 left to play sending the Capital fans into a frenzy.
Katie Elder retook the lead for Mount Union a minute later but again the Crusaders came back to tie it. After earning a free position attempt, Walton got her hat trick off of the attempt and again the Capital faithful went crazy.
After the second tie, Mount Union scored twice to go up 10-8 but the Crusaders had more chances. With less than two minutes though and with one second left on the possession clock Danielle Rohrman scored a goal falling away from the goal that iced the victory for the Purple Raiders.
King and Walton each finished with three goals and King added an assist. Bernardi led Mount Union with four goals and three other Purple Raiders had two. Curtis finished the game with 16 saves.
The Crusaders will hope to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament when the tournament field is announced at 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. If Capital's season is over, the Crusaders will end with the most wins in a season in program history with a 14-3 overall record and 6-2 mark in the OAC.