By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a thrilling, last-minute win on Tuesday night, Capital University Women's Lacrosse has advanced to the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament Championship for the second time in program history. The Crusaders (14-2, 6-2 OAC) will play at the undefeated University of Mount Union (16-0, 8-0 OAC) for the second time this season.
Saturday, May 5 | 7:30 p.m. | Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)
HOW WE GOT HERE
Capital finished the season third in the OAC after the end of the regular season with only two losses. The first came against John Carroll University but the Crusaders got their revenge by beating the Blue Streaks 12-11 in the tournament semifinals. Kathryn Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) punched Capital's ticket to the final with the game-winning goal with 37 seconds remaining against the Blue Streaks. Capital won its first seven games of the year before falling to JCU but then won three more games until a loss to Mount Union. Capital ended its regular season with three 20-goal games and has won four in a row.
Mount Union has not lost this season and only twice have the Purple Raiders allowed 10 or more points. The first time was against John Carroll University in a 16-13 win and the Crusaders scored 10 against them. Mount Union's average margin of victory stands at a conference-best 16.44 goals per game. The Purple Raiders advanced to the championship with a 21-7 win over Baldwin Wallace University.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
These two teams met in Alliance on April 14 in a 15-10 Mount Union win. The first half was a back-and-forth affair and at the half, Capital led 8-7. In the second half though, Mount Union's offense flexed its muscles and outscored the Crusaders 8-2 and started the half with a four-goal run. Walton and Taylor Thomas (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) each had four goals in the first meeting and Ashley Bernardi led all scorers with five goals and three assists.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kathryn Walton was the hero on Tuesday night with three goals, the game-winning score with 37 seconds left. Walton has scored 18 goals and has four assists in her past four games for a total of 22 points. Walton leads the team and is fourth in the OAC with 63 goals this season. Kara Hines (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) has 18 points in the past four games, Taylor Thomas has 24 points in the same span and Regan Hanood (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) leads the team with 28 points, 22 assists and six goals, in those contests.
Bernardi is second in the OAC with 74 goals and her 44 assists are third in the conference for a total of 118 points, the second-most in the league. Danielle Rohrman is second on the team with 89 points, 62 goals and 27 assists. Katie Elder (71), Marjie McNamara (63) and Kenzie Pensyl (57) also eclipsed the 50-point mark. Mimi Curtis mans the cage for the Purple Raiders' top-ranked defense with a 5.30 goals against average. She has made 82 saves.
KEY STATS TO WATCH
Goals: Mount Union, 1st (340) – Capital, 3rd (278)
Assists: Mount Union, 1st (196) – Capital, 3rd (169)
Goals per game: Mount Union, 1st (21.25) – Capital, 3rd (17.38)
Goals allowed: Mount Union, 1st (77) – Capital, 2nd (110)
Goals against average: Mount Union, 1st (4.81) – Capital, 2nd (6.87)
WHAT LIES AHEAD
If Capital wins, they will claim the first conference tournament title and program history and will receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.