Lacrosse Wins Third Straight, Defeats Niagara, 18-16

Morgan Taylor had two goals and an assist on Tuesday vs. Niagara.
Morgan Taylor had two goals and an assist on Tuesday vs. Niagara.
March 6, 2018

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SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State extended its winning streak to three straight games with a gritty 18-16 triumph over Niagara Tuesday at Aztec Lacrosse Field. With the victory, SDSU improves to 5-2 on the year, while the Purple Eagles slip to 3-2 overall.

After defeating their last two opponents St. Bonaventure and Presbyterian by a combined score of 41-5, the Aztecs had their hands full against a Niagara squad that nearly rallied from an 11-3 first-half deficit.

The Purple Eagles responded with six consecutive tallies over a span of eight-plus minutes through intermission, capped Jillian Ford's strike at the 23:47 mark, which trimmed the margin to 11-9.

The two teams took turns scoring the next eight goals, with Niagara's Hailey D'Hont narrowing the gap to two once again at 15-13 with 6:42 left on the clock.

Shortly thereafter, SDSU gave itself some breathing room after Elizabeth Rourke and Kirstie Greenlaw converted free-position shots sandwiched around Marissa MacRae's open field sprint that resulted in her first goal of the year, as the Scarlet and Black built a seemingly safe 18-13 cushion with 4:33 to go.

Undaunted, the Purple Eagles fought back with three straight markers, punctuated by D'Hont's third goal of the evening with 1:43 remaining. However, time was on the side of the Aztecs, who cleared the ball following a Niagara turnover before running out the clock on the offensive side of the field.

The Scarlet and Black was once again paced by Jill Haight, who scored all of her game-high four goals in the first half to go with six draw controls, while Rourke and Morgan Taylor finished with three points apiece on two goals and one assist.

In addition, the Aztec cause was aided by Greenlaw and Harlowe Steele, who notched two strikes of their own, while Bailey Brown came through with a career-high seven draw controls. Not to be outdone, Rourke tied Niagara's Lauren Paul for game-high honors with a personal-best five ground balls. In front of the net, Katy Sharretts made eight saves for SDSU, including five in the second half.

Conversely the Purple Eagles were led by Ford and D'Hont's hat tricks, while Caroline Crump, Rachel MacCheyne, Alexis Morales and Mackenize Molodetz had two each.

- SDSU outshot Niagara 43-34, including a 34-24 advantage on those directed at the net. The Aztecs are now 4-0 on the year when attempting more shots than their opponents. The Scarlet and Black also netted four free-position goals in the second half after going 0-4 in the first period.

- SDSU's 59 goals in its past three outings matched the team's highest scoring three-game stretch in program history. In March 2013, the Aztecs defeated LIU Brooklyn (21-1), Marquette (19-5) and Temple (19-12) in succession.
- The Aztecs won for the first time this season when allowing over 15 goals.

"We knew Niagara would be a tough, physical opponent with whom we would have to play the entire 60 minutes with," said SDSU head coach Kylee White. "They're extremely fast, but I'd thought we managed to keep up with them. They have some great shooters, and they were able to get more draws in the second half. But this was good test for us. We kept our composure. It was good situation for us to be in, having to maintain a lead instead of playing from behind like we did at Denver and Colorado."

San Diego State wraps up its season-long homestand on Saturday, March 10, when it battles fourth-ranked Boston College, beginning at noon PT. Admission to all Aztec lacrosse home games is free.

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