Early Hot Start Does Not Carry Crusaders in Loss to Purple Raiders

Pictured: Kat Walton (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)
Pictured: Kat Walton (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Two teams on lengthy winning streaks entered Mount Union Stadium on Saturday afternoon seeking the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season championship. The game pitting the conference's top two teams, Capital University and the University of Mount Union, against one another in a battle for the title and top seed in the upcoming OAC Tournament.

The Crusaders rolled out to a 4-0 lead through 18 minutes of play and held a four-goal lead heading into the final 15:25, but the Purple Raiders (15-1, 8-0 OAC) roared back with four unanswered goals to tie the game with 4:05 remaining. Both teams battled with all their might, but host Mount Union left no time on the clock when it scored the game-winning goal to claim the game and the regular season championship by a final score of 10-9.

Mount Union called a timeout with just over one minute to go in the game and possessed the ball until it was time to make its attack. One shot sailed wide but when play resumed, Alyssa Rydell zipped a pass into the middle of the critical scoring area where Sydney Bumbarger finished it off with a shot that beat Lisa Lotz just before time expired.

Despite the huge swing at the end, the game did not always favor Mount Union. Capital stormed out with four unanswered to start the game with aid from Kathryn Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central), who scored two to open the game. Brianna Rampi and Dana Stover churned out Cap's next two scores to keep the game well in hand. Meanwhile, the Capital defense was stifling Mount Union at every turn and did not allow a goal to the hosts until they were 22 minutes into the opening half.

Luci Kanowsky (Bexley, Ohio/Bishop Hartley) scored the first of her two goals in response, but the Purple Raiders closed out the frame with two tallies y Danielle Rohrman, one on the man advantage.

Cap scored three of the first four goals of the second half to regain its four-goal advantage. All three were scored by different Crusaders. Senior Makenna Ozenghar (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney) got into the scoring column for the first time working off a feed from Walton for her only goal on the day. Brooke Delara and Kanowsky then answered a goal by Mount Alyssa Rydell. With the score 8-4, Walton and Ashley Bernardi swapped goals leading into the Purple Raiders' comeback. Mount's defense locked down the Crusaders and gave way to its scorers, who did not disappoint. Bernardi, Kenzie Pensyl, KcKenna Tubbs, and Rohrman led a 4-0 rally to tie the game prior to the game-winning, horn-beating goal.

Walton notched a hat trick plus three assists to lead the Crusaders. She also had three caused turnovers, and five draw controls Delara had a three-point day behind one goal and two assists. Senior goalie Lisa Lotz made eight stops on 18 shots on goal faced.

Rohrman led the Purple Raiders with four goals and one assist, six draw controls and four caused turnovers. Mimi Curtis made 12 saves.

Capital ends the regular season 10-5 overall, 7-1 in OAC play and will garner the second seed in the upcoming OAC Tournament. They are slated to play third-seeded Baldwin Wallace University on Wednesday night (7 p.m.) at Bernlohr Stadium. Capital defeated Baldwin Wallace 20-10 in their previous meeting on April 3.

More details on the OAC Tournament and the Crusaders' matchup with BW will be available Monday afternoon.