Lexington, Ky. – In a heavily anticipated clash of the two remaining undefeated teams in the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference, the Washington & Jefferson Presidents held off the Transylvania women's lacrosse team, 10 to 8 to capture the regular season crown on Sunday at Pat Deacon Stadium.
The loss for the Pioneers ended a program-record 13-game winning streak, a streak the host Pios put on the line in a battle for the right to become the host team in the upcoming four-team ORLC conference tournament.
The final women's lacrosse home game witnessed at the home of the Pioneers for 2016 was one to remember, as both teams unveiled a pair of entertaining chess matches towards one another.
The #1 team in scoring defense, the Presidents held Transylvania to their first single-digit scoring output for the first time in six games. But the Pioneers found their fair share of offensive breakthroughs against Washington & Jefferson, registering the second-highest scoring output by an ORLC opponent against the Presidents this season.
Transylvania jumped out to their desired start, pouncing on the Presidents via a goal by Lindsey Jenkins and another by Rachel Harrison to claim a 2-0 start in the first seven minutes of the game. The Presidents then responded with two unanswered goals of their own to tie the game at two-all.
Harrison led the response for the Pioneers on a setup from fellow senior Jessica Bier for a quick strike, giving the Pioneers their third goal of the game. Washington & Jefferson then found a hot streak as they scored the next three goals of the game to claim a 5-3 road lead.
Sophomore midfielder Julia Ward got into the scoring mix with her first goal of the game to pull the Pioneers back within a goal at 5-4. But the Presidents delivered a stunning goal with just 20 seconds left in the first half to take an imperative two-goal lead at the half.
Ward opened up the second half with her 99th career goal to thin Washington & Jefferson's lead back to a goal at 6 to 5. But the Presidents replied with another decisive scoring run, posting three of the next four goals for a 9-6 lead with 21 minutes left in the game.
The game shifted back into a defensive tone, but the Pioneers continued to whittle away as Harrison came through with two straight goals within a two-minute span to pull the Pioneers back within one, trailing 9-8 with 13:16 left in the game.
The Pioneers charged down the stretch with numerous opportunities inside the Presidents' fan, but could not find the pivotal tying goal. The Presidents committed 26 turnovers in the game but also forced the host Pioneers into 21 of their own, which proved troublesome for a hungry Transylvania squad down the stretch. The Presidents put the game away with a final goal inside the final minute for a two-goal victory, completing an 8-0 run through the ORLC.
The Pioneers won numerous categories including turnover margin, clearing rate, and ground balls, where they claimed 13 more than the Presidents over the course of the contest. With quality shots coming at a premium in the game, Washington & Jefferson converted on 10 of 13 shots on goal while the Pioneers converted eight of 13 shots on goal.
Harrison led the way for Transylvania in a valiant effort in her final appearance at Pat Deacon Stadium with five goals and one assist. The senior enters the conference tournament as the leading scorer in the ORLC with 64 goals.
By clinching the one-seed, the Presidents earned the right to host the conference tournament while the Pioneers sealed up the two-seed after a stellar 7-1 run through ORLC conference play, their best finish in conference history.
The Pioneers will begin their postseason journey by taking on ORLC 3-seed St. Vincent on Friday at 1:00 p.m. in Washington, Pennsylvania. The game pits a rematch of last year's semifinal match between both teams, with St. Vincent taking the win by a 17-9 decision.
The Pioneers defeated St. Vincent in their lone meeting of the 2016 season, winning 14-12 in a notable comeback win for Transylvania.
For more on the Transylvania women's lacrosse team and the upcoming postseason trip, follow their official twitter @TransyWLax