By George Tatoris
With mere seconds left in the first half, things seemed bleak for the third-ranked Lions lacrosse team on Saturday, April 16.
Down, 5-1, against the No. 4 Salisbury Seagulls, it seemed the Lions would end the half in a four-point slump.
With nine seconds on the clock, sophomore defender Elizabeth Morrison caused a turnover. The Lions rushed the ball up the field, taking advantage of every second they had left to make a difference.
Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three.
Senior attacker Cortney Natalicchio saw her teammate, junior attacker Mia Blackman, charge up the field with the ball. There was a defender between them.
And the clock was still ticking down.
Blackman passed. Natalicchio had the ball now. Without hesitation, she sent it sailing towards the net.
“All I knew was the second I got it I was trying for that shot,” Natalicchio said. “I was actually surprised that the time didn’t run out.”
The Lions went on to score six more unanswered goals in the second half, leading to an 8-7 victory over the Seagulls. The win, combined with a 15-0 blowout against Rutgers-Camden on Tuesday, April 12, leaves the Lions with a 13-1 win record.
“I was really happy. I was happy for us to close the gap, but happy and proud because now we’re playing like ourselves,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said of the goal.
Pfluger said the Lions showed hesitation in the first half, but Natalicchio’s last-second goal imbued the team with confidence going into the second.
That confidence showed when sophomore midfielder Amanda Muller made a third goal for the Lions less than four minutes into the second period.
The College continued to push. Fouls on the Seagulls opened up the Lions for three consecutive goals. The first came after a turnover caused by sophomore defender Elizabeth Morrison.
As the Lions waited for the whistle to blow, the cheering crowd softened its noise to a murmur. All that could be heard was the blare of a jet engine flying so low over the field that its fuselage could be read from the stands — “Frontier” in big blue lettering.
The jet’s roar faded as the game continued, but seconds later, the silence was interrupted by an eruption in the stands: another Lions goal.
Senior midfielder Megan Devlin whipped the ball into the net.
After a free-position shot from Blackman, another from graduate student attacker Erin Waller tied the game at 6.
Natalicchio scored two more goals — both assists from Muller — to bring the Lions’s score up to eight.
A goal from the Seagulls brought them within a point from a tie, which would send the game into sudden-death overtime.
The Seagulls swarmed the goal as the clock wound down. Just as the Lions fought down to the wire for a goal in the first period, the Seagulls would do the same in the second.
With 11 seconds on the clock, freshman goalkeeper Miranda Chrone made a crucial save, stopping the Seagulls in their tracks. It was her seventh save that day.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Pfluger said. “They deserve to be happy after this game.”
Natalicchio attributed the win to the team’s confidence.
“Once we talked through some of the things that were going on, we just knew we that had the ability to come back,” Natalicchio said.