HAVERFORD, Pa. – The stage was all set for the Haverford College women's lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon at Swan Field. The regular season finale represented not only a chance to celebrate the senior class, but also an annual contest with a storied rival that came with an extra bit of motivation this season: a Centennial Conference playoff berth awaiting the winner.
The Fords (9-7, 4-5 CC) made the most of that opportunity, coming away with a thrilling 9-8 victory over Swarthmore (11-5, 4-5 CC) on Senior Day as senior Allie Gibbons scored on a free-position shot with just 13 seconds remaining, sending Haverford to a second consecutive Centennial Conference playoff matchup with Dickinson. In addition, the victory gives Haverford a vital Hood Trophy point, as the annual rivalry series between Haverford and Swarthmore now sits tied at 8-8 entering the final two events (men's and women's outdoor track & field) of the 2018-19 academic year.
The seniors headlined the offensive effort for the Fords as Rina Rosnow added a hat-trick for the second straight contest while Gibbons notched a pair of goals. A standout Haverford defense caused 12 turnovers, with junior Anna Meyers and first-year Caroline Alexis each recording three. Meyers added four ground balls while sophomore Amelia Slade made 10 saves and collected five ground balls during her start in goal.
The Fords scored just 16 seconds into the contest, with sophomore Julia Pascarella finding Hailey Morris off the opening draw as Morris notched her 29th of the season for a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for Haverford, Swarthmore was undeterred by the opening strike; as the Garnet rattled off three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead with 20:40 to play. Kathryn Restrepo found the back of the net twice in the stretch and added an assist. The goal from Restrepo just over 10 minutes into the contest would also represent the last time either team held a two-goal lead.
Rosnow scored to cut the Garnet lead to just 3-2 with 18:54 left in the first half, and Morris later notched an unassisted tally to knot the score at 3-3. From that point, the two sides were as evenly matched as one might expect in a rivalry showdown with so much on the line for both sides.
After Swarthmore pulled ahead 4-3 with a MacKenzie Frost goal, Rosnow had another answer just over a minute later. The Garnet clawed back ahead with 13:50 to play, but Allie Gibbons again got her way to the goal, as she equalized with 6:34 to go with an unassisted strike.
Elizabeth Wainwright scored just before the halftime intermission for the Garnet, giving the visitors a slight 6-5 edge heading into the break. Rosnow then found the first tally of the second period, as Morris contributed her first assist of the day on the score.
Frost scored with 24:33 to go, and the two sides would be held scoreless for a long stretch, as each goalkeeper came up big with multiple saves. A shot rocketed from Frost hit the post with 12:10 to go, and a free-position attempt for the Garnet just under a minute later went wide. Meyers was able to corral the ground ball, and Haverford charged up the field with an equalizer in mind. Junior Maeve Gaffney poured in her 25th goal of the season to tie the score yet again, this time at 7-7.
Swarthmore pulled back ahead at the 8:44 mark, and after a Julia Manetta attempt hit the post with 5:04 to go, Haverford regained the lead with an Eliza Brosgol score that came with 4:51 showing on the regulation clock.
Swarthmore grabbed possession following the goal, but Alexis came up big with a caused turnover, giving the ball back to the Fords with the clock dwindling. Following a pair of Haverford shots that missed the mark, Swarthmore regained possession and called for timeout with 2:14 to go.
The Fords swarmed the Garnet from that point, forcing a shot clock violation and regaining an absolutely crucial possession with a spirited defensive stand. With the ball back and the length of the field to go, Haverford called for timeout in an 8-8 tie, looking to set up a game-winning tally with less than a minute left.
Morris charged into the attacking zone looking to find a game-winner, and Swarthmore was whistled for a foul just steps from the goalmouth. A free-position attempt was awarded to the Fords and on the restart, Morris sent in a crafty, well-placed pass to a waiting Gibbons, who was able to place one past Kline to give Haverford a late lead.
On the restart, the Fords locked down possession and were able to run out the clock, ensuring that the Fords would reach the playoffs for the second straight season and the fourth time in the last five campaigns.
For the senior grouping of Gibbons, Rosnow, Sarah Svetec, and Kirsten Mullin, the journey now continues as the Class of 2019 has reached the postseason for the third time. Haverford will be traveling to Carlisle, Pa. for a matchup with Dickinson on Wednesday, May 1. A time for the contest is still to be announced.