Women's lacrosse falls goal shy of conference title, will face Mercy in ECC playoffs

Alyssa Milano (6) had four goals before departing with an apparent leg injury.
Alyssa Milano (6) had four goals before departing with an apparent leg injury.

BROOKVILLE N.Y. — The inaugural regular season of women's lacrosse in NYIT history ended one goal shy of an unbeaten conference title.

In the "Battle of the Boulevard" between undefeated teams in East Coast Conference play, LIU Post's Brianna LeCompte scored two minutes, six seconds into the first overtime period to lift the fifth-ranked Pioneers to a 12-11 sudden-death win over the 12th-ranked Bears on Saturday.

NYIT had stormed back from a five-goal second-half deficit. The Bears forced overtime on Lexi Ruiz's clutch game-tying goal with 3:02 remaining in regulation.

The loss ended an 11-game winning streak for the Bears (15-2, 7-1 ECC), who will be the second seed in the four-team ECC playoffs. NYIT will host third-seeded Mercy on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at President's Stadium. The Bears ended Mercy's nine-game season-opening winning streak with a 13-11 victory at Dobbs Ferry on April 4. 

Alyssa Milano had four goals in Saturday's loss — her final tally pulling the Bears within 11-10 with 4:46 to go. The Bears had trailed 8-3 at halftime. 

"This loss stings, but we need to bounce back in the week of preparation and practice for the playoffs," said Milano, who needed to be helped off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury late in regulation. "I'm really proud of these girls with what we've been through and accomplished as a group this year. The real season is just beginning. Hopefully we see them again."

Senior Katie Meinecke also had four goals, including three straight in the second half that ignited the Bears to 4-0 run aganist LIU Post (13-2. 8-0). 

Shannon Donovan and Karie Znaniecki each contributed a goal. Znaniecki had a goal and five assists to reach the 100-point plateau for the season.

"We fought hard and together until the last second. It just didn't fall our way," Meinecke said. "Our main focus now moves to Thursday's semifinal game. We need to put this loss behind us."