Lacrosse Tops Cal in OT Thriller, 14-13
March 26, 2017
SAN DIEGO -- Senior Alex Watson scored the game-winning goal with 3:23 elapsed in overtime to give San Diego State a thrilling 14-13 triumph over California on Sunday in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game at Aztec Lacrosse Field.
With the win, SDSU matched its best 10-game start in program history, improving to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in league play, while the Golden Bears slip to 2-8 on the year and 0-2 in the MPSF.
Trailing 13-11 late in the second half, the Aztecs scored two goals in the final 72 seconds of regulation to force overtime on strikes by Watson and freshman Taylor Sullivan.
Earlier in the period, Sullivan scooped up a loose ball in front of the Cal goal and flipped it into the twine to give SDSU a seemingly comfortable 11-6 spread with 21:17 left on the clock. However, the Bears controlled the next 19-plus minutes with a 7-0 surge, capped by Chloe Landry's tally with 1:58 left that provided the visitors a two-goal cushion.
Cal won the ensuing draw, but Aztec senior Ijeoma Ikpe caused a crucial turnover by the Bears' Wheatley Raabe and collected the ground ball before racing upfield. Moments later, Watson found the back of the net with 1:12 remaining to pull SDSU to within one.
The Aztecs won the subsequent draw as senior Kristen Hickey soon directed a shot on goal that hit the left post with 45 seconds to go. Sophomore Natalie Peel gathered the loose ball and was promptly fouled, setting up a free position attempt. Peel's shot was initially rejected by Cal goalkeeper Jenny Wilkens, but Sullivan gathered the rebound and snapped a quick shot that hit pay dirt to tie the score.
The Bears had two shots by Landry and Jena Fritts go wide early in overtime, but the SDSU defense held firm. Shortly thereafter, Cal won the draw control at the midway point of the extra session, but committed another costly turnover, setting up Watson's heroics.
Watson and fellow classmate Kayla Deitz netted three goals apiece to lead the Scarlet and Black, while Sullivan, Hickey and sophomore Harlowe Steele finished with two markers apiece. In addition, the Aztecs received single tallies from Ikpe and freshman Morgan Taylor.
Peel and Sullivan tied for game-high honors with three ground balls each, while Hickey and Steele won three draws each. In front of the cage, SDSU senior Katrina Reeves played full-time, making 11 saves.
The two sides were evenly matched for the most part on the stat sheet, with the Aztecs maintaining a slight 33-32 edge in shots. However, both teams directed 24 shots on goal and picked up 18 ground balls apiece on the afternoon. Conversely, the Bears owned a 17-13 advantage in draw controls, but were just 1-for-5 on free position attempts, compared to SDSU's 5-for-10 clip.
The Aztecs broke a 2-2 deadlock early in the first half with a four-goal outburst during a seven-and-a-half minute stretch, capped by Steele's second goal of the day at the 9:33 mark. Later in the period, Sullivan fed Deitz for a goal with 22 seconds left on the clock to give SDSU an 8-4 advantage by intermission.
Cal's Elizabeth Pellechi led all players with four goals, while Jena Fritts, Susie Ropp and Meredith Haggerty finished with two each in the loss.
San Diego State will step out of conference play next week when it plays host to Brown on Friday, March 31, starting at 5 p.m. PT.