Keuka College's women's lacrosse team suffered a 9-5 loss to Morrisville State Sunday in the championship of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) postseason tournament at the Jephson Community Athletic Complex.
Keuka (13-3), the No. 1 seed and NEAC regular season champion, held a 3-2 lead entering the second half fueled by goals from seniors Jennifer Burt (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan) and Olivia Hudson (Adams, N.Y./South Jefferson), and sophomore Taylor Willsey (Mexico, N.Y./Mexico).
But the second-seeded Mustangs (11-7) scored the first four goals of the second half while holding the Wolfpack scoreless for a stretch of 16 minutes and 43 seconds bridging both halves to pull away and defeat the two-time defending champions from Keuka College.
Hudson scored 2 goals, had 3 groundballs and won 2 draw controls, while classmate Kaycee Maguire (Potsdam, N.Y./Potsdam) added 5 caused turnovers, had 4 groundballs, won 3 draw controls and scored a goal for the Green and Gold.
Sophomore Samantha Peacock (Phelps, N.Y./Midlakes) caused a career-high five turnovers, while Burt and Willsey each added a goal for Keuka, which fell to a NEAC opponent for the first time since an 11-10 triple-overtime defeat to Morrisville State in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) West championship on April 29, 2012, a span of 32 games.
Sophomore Kayla Robinson (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan) made seven saves but suffered the first loss of her collegiate career, dropping her record to 10-1.
Morrisville State (11-7) secured the NEAC's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III tournament with the win, which snapped Keuka's reign of five NEAC titles over the last six years.
"I'm proud of what this team accomplished," said Eryn McCaffrey, Keuka's first-year head coach who was named NEAC Coach of the Year after leading the Wolfpack to the regular-season title.
"The only thing I would have changed today was us finding the back of the net more and making more opportunities, but I'm proud of the strides this team made."
Morrisville State was led by five goals from NEAC Tournament MVP Ally Zlinsky, and Angela Marriott (three goals).
Keuka didn't get on the scoreboard until Burt scored an unassisted goal with 11:25 remaining in the opening half. Zlinsky put the Mustangs up 2-1 four minutes later before Willsey and Hudson scored on free position shots to send the Wolfpack into halftime up 3-2.
But Morrisville State outscored the Wolfpack 7-1 over the first 28 minutes of the second half to secure the NEAC title.
"We worked really hard from day one and we definitely have overcome some obstacles this year," McCaffrey said. "Today our offense was a problem; we were definitely off our normal rhythm. Our defense held them off for a while, but in order to win you need to shoot to score, and that's where we suffered. We knew it was going to be neck-and-neck from the first whistle."