April 29, 2011

Price Is Right for Mt. St. Mary's

from press release

HAMDEN, Conn.
- Nicole Price (White Hall, Md./North Harford) registered a natural hat trick in a span of one minute and 42 seconds to lift Mount St. Mary's past No. 2 Robert Morris and into the Northeast Conference Tournament Championship Game for the fourth time in program history with a 13-8 win in the NEC Semifinals on Friday. The Mountaineers will face Quinnipiac in the NEC Championship Game on Sunday at 12 p.m. on the QU Field Hockey/Lacrosse Turf Field.

After the Colonials (8-9) tied the game at 6, Price notched a natural hat trick to break the standstill with a free-position goal at 39:30 and then registered unassisted tallies at 40:58 and 41:12 to give the Mount (8-10) the lead it would not relinquish. The senior finished with a career-high four goals and one assist to lead the Mountaineers to the league title game for the first time since the 2007 season.

Jen Semler (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall), an All-NEC first-team selection, added three goals and an assist. Esther Rufolo (Woodstock, Md./Chapelgate Christian Academy) added a goal and two assists while Kaitlyn Larrimore (Pylesville, Md./North Harford), a NEC All-Rookie team selection, found the twine twice. Brigid McTavish (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) made nine saves in the winning effort.

Elizabeth Sunseri paced Robert Morris with a hat trick while Kaleigh Gibbons added a tally and two helpers and Rachel Engel had two markers. Kaitlin Pentz turned away nine shots in the loss.

Mount St. Mary's jumped out to an early advantage and after a surging Colonial team tied the game at 6, Price and Semler took over to seize control of the match and help the Mountaineers become the first No. 3 seed to win an NEC Tournament game in league history. The Mount is also the only No. 4 seed with a win in the championships after beating Monmouth in the opening round in 2003.

After Engel tied the game off a Colleen O'Donnell feed at 35:23, Price helped Mount St. Mary's post seven of the final tallies to come away with the victory and avenge a 15-12 loss to Robert Morris 14 days earlier when the Moon Township program scored the final seven goals of the game.

Price scored three times in a span of 102 seconds to put the Mountaineers up to stay. Sunseri halted the Price run with an unassisted goal at 42:54, but that did not stop the Mount St. Mary's momentum.

Meaghan Conlon (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) started a 4-0 run with an unassisted tally at 43:28 before Semler found the twine unassisted at 47:53 and 53:44 before Price clinched the victory with her fourth tally of the afternoon 10 seconds later for a 12-7 lead.

Gibbons found the twine unassisted at 58:30, but Mount St. Mary's went for a 13-8 victory and a berth in the NEC Championship Game.

Mount St. Mary's jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the first nine minutes of the match. Larrimore started the scoring when she picked up a loose ball in front of the net and found the twine unassisted at 4:11. Semler then scored off a Rufolo assist 48 seconds later before Lindsay Diaz (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) scored unassisted at 7:41 and then Rufolo converted a free-position opportunity at 8:20 for a four-goal advantage.

Robert Morris posted the next two goals to cut the margin to 4-2. Emily VanDyne got the Colonials on the scoreboard off a feed from Gibbons at 11:39 and Engel then scored unassisted at 17:17.

Larrimore answered with her second score of the afternoon off a pass from Semler at 19:48 to restore a three-goal edge before Robert Morris registered the final two goals to make trim the margin to 5-4. Sunseri found the twine off a Gibbons helper at 22:21 before Ashley Trombetta picked up a loose ball after a save with 42 seconds left to make it a one-goal difference at halftime.

The Colonials continued its momentum in the second half to score two of the first three markers to tie the game at 6. Sunseri scored off an O'Donnell feeder at the 33-minute mark to tie the game at 5. Price set up Alexis Salerno (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) at 33:55 to reclaim the lead before O'Donnell set up Engel at 35:23 to even the match at 6. The Mountaineers then rolled off seven of the final eight goals to go on for the win.

Price paced the defense with four ground balls while Diaz had a team-high three caused turnovers.

The Mount advances to the NEC Championship Game for the fourth time in program history after winning the title in 2004 and 2005 before falling to Monmouth in the 2007 title match. The Mountaineers earn its first NEC Tournament win since beating the Bobcats in the NEC Semifinals in 2007 and earn its first neutral site victory in the tournament since beating Sacred Heart 6-5 at Monmouth in 2004.

Quinnipiac defeated Mount St. Mary's 11-8 on Thursday at the Waldron Family Stadium in the only meeting this season. The Bobcats advance to the NEC Championship Game for the fourth-straight year, but still are searching for their first tournament crown.


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