MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Freshman Kat Cucullo scored her first collegiate goal in overtime as the 20th-ranked Wesleyan University women's lacrosse team defeated Little Three archrival Williams College in its 2018 season-opening thriller, 10-9.
The Ephs (0-1) trailed 9-6 with 15:37 to play but rallied down the stretch with three unanswered goals to force overtime. However, despite the momentum in the visitors' favor, sophomore Abby Manning sent a pass from behind the net to Cucullo right in front of the goalie as she sent in the game-winner for the Cardinals (1-0).
Manning and Caitlin Wood '19 led Wesleyan with three points each, while Kara Wollmers registered a game-high four goals for Williams including two during the team's 3-0 run at the end of regulation. The win marked the third consecutive for the Cardinals over their Little Three rival.
- Saturday's game went back-and-forth often.
- Williams got on the board first as Kailie Saudek found the back of the net just 1:20 into play.
- The Cardinals rallied, however, and after five minutes of scoreless play, Wood found Manning for the team's first goal of the season. Forty seconds later, Wood scored on a free position goal to give the home team a 2-1 advantage.
- The two teams exchanged the next four goals and with 1:31 remaining before halftime, Emma Richards '20 netted her second of the half to give Wesleyan a 4-3 advantage at the break.
- The Cardinals increased their lead to two, 5-3, early in the second (26:52) off an unassisted marker by Abigail Horst '19 but back-to-back scores by Williams evened the score at 5-5 with 24:16 to play.
- Both squads exchanged the next two goals until Wesleyan went on a 3-0 run in less than three minutes. Manning started the streak with a goal off an assist from Cucullo, and Julia Black '18 capped off the streak with a goal at the 15:37 mark to put the home team ahead 9-6.
- Williams responded with a run of its own starting just 21 seconds after Black's score as Wollmers found the back of the net. She would score once again at the 12:56 mark and an unassisted marker by Suzanna Penikis with 6:53 remaining tied the game at 9-9.
- With just over two minutes remaining, Wesleyan goalkeeper Allegra Grant '20 made an incredible save on a free position attempt by the Ephs.
- Williams won the draw control in OT and Wollmers put a shot on net but once again, Grant came up with the big save.
- The Cardinals took advantage as Cucollo scored the game-winner less than a minute later.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Both teams recorded 17 turnovers while Wesleyan held an 11-9 lead in draw controls and a 15-11 advantage in ground balls.
- Grant was terrific in net for the Cardinals as she recorded 13 saves for her first collegiate win. Horst, Manning, Richards, and Wood each registered two goals.
- Kami Cisneros made nine saves in net for the Ephs and Sophia Millay scored twice.
- Wesleyan returns to action Wednesday, March 7 and will play at Vassar. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.