No. 10 Cardinals fall to No. 12 Panthers in 13-12 heartbreaker

No. 10 Cardinals fall to No. 12 Panthers in 13-12 heartbreaker

WASHINGTON – No. 10 CUA led No. 12 Middlebury 12-9 with under three minutes to play but the Panthers stormed back to score the game's final four goals, including the game-winner from Sally Ryan with three ticks remaining to earn a dramatic 13-12 victory on Thursday.  Mary Swarthout had an incredible day for the Cardinals with six goals and three assists, while Ryan found the back of the net seven times for Middlebury.

Swarthout scored her final goal of the day with 6:43 to play and that put CUA in front 12-9.  The Cardinals seemed to be in control of this one but they simply had no answer for Ryan, who took over in the final minutes. 

Ryan scored with 2:25 remaining to make it 12-10 and she added two more scores in the next 1:18 to knot things at 12 with a little over a minute to play.  The Panthers then won the ensuing draw control and let the clock run down as they worked the ball around.  Ryan eventually got it and knifed her way towards the goal for the game's final shot attempt, which found the back of the net with 3.9 seconds remaining.

Middlebury won the final draw control and ran the clock out to hold on for the exciting win.

Ryan began the game just like she ended it, with a goal, which came 1:21 into the contest to put the visitors in front 1-0.  Michaela Colbert then made it 2-0 with her score with 26:49 to play before halftime.

Kate Robinson got CUA on the board with a score at the 26:02 mark and her second goal came just 47 seconds later to knot things at two.

The Panthers responded with three straight scores to go in front 5-2 with 15:21 to play in the half, but Swarthout brought CUA to within 5-4 with back-to-back goals.

Next, Ryan and Swarthout traded goals in a span of 1:01 and that made it a 6-5 game in favor of Middlebury, which is how it remained until halftime.

Ellen Halle put the visitors in front 7-5 with her goal 1:05 into the second half but CUA's Lindsay Davenport answered with a goal of her down off a Swarthout assist and the Cardinals were within one with 25:29 on the clock.

Elizabeth Garry's goal with 20:03 to play put the Panthers up by two once again, but CUA stormed back with four straight scores to take its first lead of the day, 10-8.  Swarthout scored two of the goals, while Davenport and Kelly Ryan added one each.

Middlebury's Ryan scored her third goal of the day on a free position shot with 9:16 left in the game to make it a one-goal affair, but Kate Robinson and Swarthout scored two straight for the Cardinals in a span of just 51 seconds to give CUA a comfortable 12-9 advantage.

Time continued to move off the clock as CUA inched closer to victory but with 2:48 remaining Swarthout picked up a yellow card and that opened the door for Ryan's dramatics.

The Cardinals defense was unable to slow down the Panthers' top scorer as she netted four goals in the final 2:25, including the game-winner.

CUA was credited with 28 shots for the game, while Middlebury totaled 23.  Kelly Ryan and Meghan Murray picked up three ground balls apiece for CUA and Ryan and Becky Borrell were the team leaders with two caused turnovers.

Gabby Sena sent back nine shots in goal for the Cardinals and five different CUA players won two draw controls.

Hannah Epstein led the visitors with six ground balls and Ryan won a game-high five draw controls and also caused a pair of turnovers.

Lily Nguyen went the first 56:31 in goal for the Panthers and stopped six shots during that time before giving way to Alyssa Palomba for the final 3:29.

On Saturday CUA opens its 2011 Landmark Conference schedule when the Cardinals head to New Jersey to face Drew.  The opening draw is slated for noon.