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#AztecWLAX Suffers OT MPSF Tourney Loss to Colorado, 9-8

Freshman Vickie Porter and the Aztecs lost to Colorado in the MPSF quarterfinals on Thursday.
Freshman Vickie Porter and the Aztecs lost to Colorado in the MPSF quarterfinals on Thursday.

May 1, 2014

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DENVER, Colo. - What could be described as the San Diego State women's lacrosse team's most successful season in program history came to a close on Thursday, as the Aztecs lost another overtime heartbreaker to Colorado, 9-8, in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) quarterfinals.

It's the second time this season SDSU (7-10) lost to the Buffaloes in overtime, the first coming on April 13 in Boulder, Colo. The Aztecs scored five-consecutive goals in the second half to take an 8-6 lead, but Colorado scored the final two goals of regulation, and freshman Johnna Fusco's free-position overtime goal dashed San Diego State's hopes of a rematch with Stanford in Friday's semifinal.

Junior Christina Ricciardulli showed why she's a team captain and all-MPSF second-team selection by recording a hat trick with three goals on Thursday, two of which came during the second-half surge. The midfielder finished 3-of-7 shooting with two draw controls, while freshman Vickie Porter added two second-half scores.

Sophomores Felice Artuso, Andrea Killebrew and junior Bailey Ewing also scored a goal apiece, with junior Lauren Maack recording an assist with a team-high four groundballs and three caused turnovers. Artuso also had three groundballs and two caused turnovers, while freshman goalkeeper Katrina Reeves had six of her 10 saves in the second half.

Colorado had a 4-2 halftime advantage despite the Aztecs outshooting the Buffaloes, 13-9, in the games' first 30 minutes. CU inexplicably had a 7-0 edge in draws in the first half before SDSU made it even the rest of the way for a 14-7 discrepancy, as San Diego State also had more groundballs (16-14) and committed less turnovers (17-11).

Trailing by three early in the second half, Porter connected on a free-position shot to cut the Aztecs' deficit to 5-3. Another unassisted goal by Porter kept SDSU within two, before consecutive goals by Ricciardulli knotted the score, 6-6, with 13:33 remaining.

Ewing's goal off an assist from junior Michaela Jarvis put the Aztecs on top for the first time with 12:57 to go, and after a diving save by Reeves on the defensive end, Artuso's unassisted goal during a man-up opportunity made it 8-6 with 10:10 left in regulation.

Colorado responded with a goal by Fusco followed by a score from freshman Marie Moore to tie the game, 8-8, with four minutes remaining. Despite Moore receiving a yellow card with 3:12 to go, the Aztecs were unable to score before the end of regulation.

Although San Diego State concludes the 2014 campaign with one fewer win than 2013 (8), the case can be made it was a more successful one. The Aztecs played six teams that were at least receiving votes in either the IWLCA Coaches Poll or the Brine Women's Media Poll, including No. 7/7 Boston College, while four of those games were away from Aztec Lacrosse Field.

Still, SDSU finished with program-highs for MPSF victories (4), road victories (4), conference player of the week honors (6), earned its first overtime win (at California on Feb. 28) and played its first-ever postseason game. In addition, Ricciardulli set new program records for most caused turnovers in a game (6) and in a season (20), and most draw controls in a season (52), while Reeves' 37 groundballs this year is a new program-high.

"This season can't be measured by wins and losses," head coach Kylee White said. "We definitely grew as a team and played against some tougher opponents. It's a great group of girls that I'm happy to be a part of. Our two seniors were a huge part of building this program."

Despite the loss to two key seniors, White is excited about the 2015 campaign, which will be both the program's and several key players' fourth season.

"Next year we're not just expecting to make it (to the MPSF Championships), we're expecting to go far in it," White said. "Having seniors next year that will have four years of experience should put us in good position to get to the top of the conference."