Last-second goal lifts Cats

The women’s lacrosse team made their first-ever win against Albany one to remember last Saturday at Moulton Winder Field. In a tie game with just over 15 seconds remaining and Albany in control of the ball in the Vermont zone, sophomore Sara Buxton caused a crucial turnover and scooped up the ball before making a quick pass to junior Sarah DeStefano.Destefano took over from there. Sprinting fiercely down the field in a race against the clock, DeStefano made one Albany defender miss before ripping a shot over the left shoulder of Albany goalie Katie Neer with just 1.8 seconds remaining, lifting the Cats to an 11-10 victory. The goal was DeStefano’s second of the game. “Buxton had it going down on a 2-on-1,” DeStefano said. “I faked around one defender and ripped it high.I had no idea how much time was left.” “I just went for it,” DeStefano said. “It was an amazing win.” Head coach Jen Johnson was ecstatic about her team’s effort.”I think I jumped up about ten feet in the air [after the goal],” Johnson said. “I’m really proud of DeStefano. She really stepped up for us today.”Johnson also pointed to her team’s ability to play well from behind as one thing she was particularly proud of on the day. UVM fought back from a 3-0 deficit early in the game and trailed the Great Danes 10-9 with just 1:17 left in regulation.”I really admire the resilience of this team,” Johnson said. “They could easily give up but they just battle back harder.””This win is huge in many capacities,” said Johnson. By improving to 3-1 in conference play, the Cats are all but guaranteed a spot in the America East tournament, and with their last three conference games all at home they will look to improve on their current #3 seed.Albany dropped to 7-5 and 1-2 in conference play. UVM trailed early in the game as they struggled to establish their offense against a stingy Albany defense.However, UVM’s defense kept the Cats’ in the game with exceptional overall play as the offense warmed up. “It was our best overall defensive effort of the season,” Johnson said.Trailing 3-0 with 7:53 remaining in the first half, freshman Megan McDonald opened up the scoring for the Cats on a free-position shot. Albany’s Jodi Battaglia answered just three minutes later on a wrap-around goal past senior goalie Meaghan Hanley.UVM would strike back with two more goals in the final two minutes of the first half. Set up by a great pass from MacDonald, junior Kristen Millar ripped a hard shot in to the bottom of the net with 1:38 remaining. Millar then set up junior Tori Wasson’s goal less than a minute later to pull the Cats within a goal at the break.Both teams traded goals throughout the second half as the game took on a very physical nature. Albany recorded 20 fouls overall while Vermont tallied 16. The fouls turned out to be key in UVM’s win, as they went a perfect 4-of-4 on freeposition shots in the second half.Also in the second half, Millar made history by setting an NCAA record for draw controls won (228), breaking the old record of 223 in 31 less games. UVM took their first lead of the game with just 6:28 remaining in the game on an unassisted goal by Mac- Donald. Albany’s Christine Grueniger put Albany back in front with 1:17 left.Macdonald tied the game with her fourth goal of the contest with just 45 seconds remaining, setting up DeStefano’s last second triumph.The Cats will take on first-place New Hampshire Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Moulton Winder Field.