Lacrosse Edges Cal in Season Opener, 12-11

Harlowe Steele provided the game-winning goal in the Aztecs' 12-11 victory at Cal.
Harlowe Steele provided the game-winning goal in the Aztecs' 12-11 victory at Cal.
Feb. 11, 2018

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BERKELEY, Calif. -- San Diego State junior Harlowe Steele scored the game-winning goal on a free position shot with 28 seconds remaining to lift the Aztec lacrosse team to a thrilling 12-11 victory over California Sunday in its 2018 season opener at Memorial Stadium.

Steele led all players with a career-high four goals while collecting one assist, one ground ball and one draw control to help SDSU (1-0) record its first season-opening triumph since 2014.

The Aztecs also received two strikes apiece from senior Elizabeth Rourke, junior Jill Haight and fellow classmate Kirstie Greenlaw, while sophomores Taylor Sullivan and Morgan Taylor finished with one tally each.

Not to be outdone, junior goalkeeper Katy Sharretts made her first collegiate start a memorable one, posting 13 saves, which is tied for fifth on the school's single-game charts. Meanwhile, senior Mackenzie Lech scooped a game-high four ground balls, while Haight came through with a team-best three draw controls.

SDSU found itself trailing 5-2 after the Golden Bears' Kate Mattimore tickled the twine with 16:17 left in the first half. The scoreboard sat idle for nearly the next 12 minutes, until Haight and Rourke notched their two goals, respectively, over the final 4:24 put the visitors in front 6-5 by intermission.

The Aztecs maintained the upper hand throughout much of the second half, building their biggest lead of the game at 10-7 following Greenlaw's second consecutive strike with 12:39 left in regulation.

However, the Golden Bears responded with a 4-1 run over the next 10:34, capped by Kirsten Swanson's third goal of the afternoon to level the contest at 11-11 with 2:05 to go. As the clock ticked under a minute, Cal's Eliza Christman was whistled for a foul, setting the stage for Steele's heroics. Swanson and Christman (two assists) led the Bears with three tallies apiece, while goalkeeper Jenny Wilkens made eight saves in the loss.

Despite getting outshot 34-27 for the game, including a 24-20 deficit on goal, the Aztecs maintained a slight edge in ground balls (16-14) and draw controls (13-12).

-- SDSU has won three of its last four vs. Cal to raise its record to 4-3 in the all-time series, including a 2-1 mark in Berkeley.
-- The Aztecs' last three meetings vs. the Golden Bears have all been decided by one goal. SDSU dropped a 10-9 overtime decision on the road in 2016, before turning the tables with a dramatic 14-13 home victory in overtime as well last season.

San Diego State will play host to Arizona State in its 2018 home opener on Saturday, Feb. 17, starting a 1 p.m. PT.

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