By George Tatoris
Freshman midfielder Erin Harvey stood at the center of Lion’s Stadium on Saturday, March 19, her lacrosse stick poised for the draw.
She knew what was at stake.
The fight against the fifth-ranked Gettysburg College Bullets would have ended just moments ago if not for senior midfielder Megan Devlin, who tied the game up, 9-9, with just 26 seconds on the clock. The game went into overtime.
“With the new sudden-death goal rule this season, I knew how important it was to get possession right away,” Harvey said.
NCAA’s new rule, which went into effect just this year, states that games that go into overtime are decided by the next goal.
Harvey lobbed the ball towards sophomore defender Elizabeth Morrison, who gained control.
After an intense few minutes of play, with both teams missing scoring chances to end it and 1:39 minutes remaining in the six-minute period, senior attacker Cortney Natalicchio sent the ball sailing toward the net and scored her 16th goal of the season, and 102nd goal in her collegiate career.
The sixth-ranked Lions won, 10-9.
The team’s record rose to 5-0 while the fifth-ranked Bullets left the stadium with a record of 5-1 and their first loss of the season.
“It is the first time we have played a sudden death overtime, so I knew taking that shot that it may have been the last shot we would take in the game,” said Natalicchio, who led the College’s offense with four goals and two assists. “If I missed or the goalie made a save, they would have the opportunity to end the game — I knew I had to make it count.”
The Lions struggled in the first half. Junior attacker Mia Blackman made a goal just 40 seconds into the game, but the Bullets kept the Lions from tallying again for another 18 minutes. Meanwhile, Gettysburg scored three goals.
Out of 10 shots in the first half, only three found their mark.
Meanwhile, the Bullets hit the Lions with a barrage of shots — out of 12 shots, six hit the back of the net.
At the break, the Lions were down, 6-3.
“We started off a little slow and were having trouble finishing our shots,” Natalicchio said.
But that all changed in the second half.
“Being down by three at the start of the second half, we knew we were really going to have to work to chip away at their lead,” Harvey said.
With 5:18 left on the clock and the College trailing, 9-7, Harvey took a low shot and brought the Lions one step closer to a tie.
Harvey was shooting high all game and adjusted her shot based on head coach Sharon Pfluger’s advice.
“We could only be happy about that goal for a second,” Harvey said. “The team and myself had to refocus on gaining possession off the next draw so that we could have another possession on attack and try to tie.”
With 3:30 remaining, freshman goaltender Miranda Chrone made a point-blank save to keep the Lions a goal away from tying.
“Being able to keep the score within one or two goals gave my team the motivation they needed to tie and eventually win the game,” Chrone said.
Chrone made seven saves the entire match, which is her highest yet this season.
Devlin, who ended the game with three goals and an assist, showed the Bullets that the Lions were not going down without a fight, scoring a goal just 15 seconds into the second half.
Eight minutes later, Natalicchio scored her 100th goal as a Lion.
“I was so wrapped up in the game that I did not even realize it was my 100th when I scored it,” Natalicchio said. “It is a great memory to have. Reaching that career marker and also winning the game in overtime is something I’ll never forget.”
Natalicchio scored two more goals after that milestone, including the one that ended the game.
Chrone felt “pure joy” after witnessing the final goal.
“I have never had that feeling before after a win,” Chrone said. “And even two days later I still smile just thinking about it.”