The William Smith College lacrosse team defeated Ithaca College 15-10 in the Liberty League Tournament championship game on Boswell Field on Sunday. The tournament MVP, senior Melissa Moore, led the Herons with a game-high seven points on three goals and four assists.
It is William Smith’s fifth Liberty League Tournament title in program history. The Herons secured the Liberty League’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and extended their win streak to seven straight and 14-4 overall. The Herons will face Endicott in an NCAA tournament first round game on Saturday, May 12 at TCNJ in Ewing, N.J. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
Moore added three ground balls and two caused turnovers in the win. It was her seventh game this season with three or more goals. Moore, first-year Mekayla Montgomery, first-year Anna Murphy, senior Kelsi Carr, senior Cat Wolf and first-year Jules Kennedy represented William Smith on the Liberty League All-Tournament Team. Ithaca’s Allie Panara, Bailey Herr, Elizabeth Rice and Elizabeth Sauer also were named to the all-tournament squad, while Emily Livecchi represented RIT and Kyla Donovan represented RPI.
Senior Sarah Benyo added three goals for William Smith. Carr chipped in a goals and two assists, a game-high six ground balls, three draws and two caused turnovers. Montgomery matched a season-high winning a game-high seven draws and picked up four ground balls. Her seven draws tie for third most in game in Heron history. First-year Ellie Burns grabbed four ground balls, had two caused turnovers and a goal. First-year Rachel Yackel and sophomore Nicki Santora each logged two goals, and Murphy registered a goal, an assist and three draws. Kennedy made nine saves, with six coming in the second half.
William Smith and Ithaca traded goals to start the game. Moore opened the scoring just 41 seconds in. Herr responded for Ithaca with a free position goal at 5:26. Ellie Burns notched her 11th goal this spring off a feed from Moore at 7:25 and Herr struck again at 12:30 off a feed from Panara. The Herons got back-to-back goals from Benyo and first-year Kelsey Williams to take a 4-2 lead with 15:38 left in the first. Herr notched her third goal of the day off an assist from Rice with 11:04 before the break. With 9:13 on the clock, Carr forced a turnover by the Ithaca keeper, scooped up the ground ball and scored on a one-on-one to make it 5-3. It was her seventh goal this year. Yackel took advantage of a free position with 7:36 left in the first. Just under two minutes later, Katie Welch scored a free position goal to get the Bombers back within two. A little over a minute later, Yackel struck again to give the Herons a 7-4 lead. Herr and Hallack put together back-to-back goals for Ithaca to make it 7-6 with 2:09 left in the first, but Benyo found the back of the net off a feed from Moore with 53 seconds remaining to give William Smith an 8-6 advantage going into halftime.
The Bombers came out and scored the first three goals of the second half to take a 9-8 lead. Hallack scored on a free position, Herr posted her fifth of the day and Welch tallied her second of the afternoon, all in the first 5:22 of the second. However, William Smith came storming back putting together a seven-goal run. Moore tallied two goals and an assist during that span. She knotted the game at 9-9 after a feed from sophomore Bizzer Gahagan. Murphy and Moore then each notched free position goals. Benyo logged her 29th goal of the year after a pass from Carr. Santora found the back of the net after a feed from Murphy. First-year Sadie Mapstone and Santora then both scored goals set up by Moore to give the Herons a 15-9 advantage. Rice logged an unassisted tally for Ithaca with 15 seconds left in the game.
William Smith recorded a 39-25 advantage in shots, a 21-12 lead in ground balls and a 15-12 edge in draws. Each team was successful on 15-of-20 clear attempts.