NEWBERG, Ore. – If Pacific University could stake a claim as the "unofficial" Northwest Conference women's lacrosse champion of 2013, then George Fox University's fledgling program is growing up quickly as the Bruins pushed the visiting Boxers to the edge before falling 11-9 in overtime Monday night here at the Austin Sports Complex.
Included in Pacific's 9-4 record last year was a 4-0 slate against Linfield College and the University of Puget Sound, the other NWC schools with varsity lacrosse teams (there must be six teams with programs before the sport can be sponsored for a championship by the conference). The Bruins proved their mettle against the experienced Boxers by taking a halftime lead, then bouncing back from three goals down in the second half to extend the game to an extra period.
The Bruins took an early lead a minute-and-a-half into the game on a goal by Jessica Adrian, but the Boxers knotted it seven minutes later on a score by April Lanz, the first of her five goals in the game. Pacific later went up 3-2 on a goal by Megan Chapman, but the Bruins tallied three times in the last 10 minutes of the half, including a score by Alexa Nakashimada with only five seconds to go, to build a 5-3 advantage at the break.
The Boxers scored a goal early in the second half by Nicki Leeming that was nullified because a knot had come undone in the webbing of her stick, creating a deeper pocket than legally allowed. That did not slow down the Boxers, who out-scored the young Bruins 6-1 over the first 20 minutes of the half to jump ahead 9-6. Melanie Niehus and Lanz scored two goals each in that run.
The Bruins turned the tables in the final 10 minutes, however. Adrian and Nakashimada responded with goals a minute apart with seven and six minutes left respectively to draw the Bruins within one, and Nakashimada sent it into overtime with a free-position score with 4:43 remaining.
The overtime belonging to the Boxers, though, as they controlled the opening draw and held possession for over two minutes before Lanz scored off a feed from Abby Talboy. Lanz added a second overtime goal with three minutes remaining in the six-minute extra period, and the Boxers were able to turn back the Bruin attack the rest of the way.
Adrian paced the Bruins with four goals, while Nakashimada added three goals and three assists and Christine Doherty scored twice. Kaylee Kolin made 20 saves in goal as the Boxers peppered her with 34 total shots, 31 on goal.
Lanz had a game-high five goals for Pacific, with Niehus, Chapman and Amy Mayhugh scoring twice each. Mayhugh had two assists, and goalkeeper Adrienne Salzwedel, who sat out the last minute of the first half after a collision with Adrian, had six saves.
NEXT: George Fox (0-2) gets its first road test Wednesday when the Bruins visit their Yamhill County rivals, the Linfield Wildcats, for a 6:00 p.m. match … Pacific (2-2) hosts Colorado College Saturday at 2:00 p.m.