AMHERST, Mass. – With just one second remaining in overtime, Rachel Passarelli '16 netted the game-winner to break an 8-8 tie and lift the No. 12 Amherst College women's lacrosse team to a thrilling, 9-8 victory over No. 4 Colby College Saturday afternoon at Pratt Field.
With the win, Amherst improves to 8-4 on the season, 4-4 in NESCAC action, while Colby moves to 9-4 overall, 4-4 in league play.
With Amherst holding an 8-6 edge with 7:30 to play in the second half thanks to the first of Passarelli's two goals, Colby battled back as Abby Hooper scored on a pass from Abby Hatch at the 5:02 mark, and then scored a free position goal just 31 seconds later to knot the game at 8-8 with 4:33 to play in the contest.
After neither team was able to get a shot attempt away with time running out in regulation, Amherst had the best chance at an early goal in the extra frame as Passarelli fired a close-range shot but Mules' goalkeeper Claire Dickson was in position to make the save and keep the game tied at 8-8. With time about to expire, Sarah Spector '15 fired a pass from the right slot to Passarelli who deposited the ball into the back of the net with just one tick on the clock to give the Purple & White a thrilling victory.
Dickson finished with 10 saves in the losing effort for Colby, while Christy Forrest '16 made eight stops between the pipes for Amherst.
The Purple & White got off to a fast start in the first half as senior tri-captain Meghan Mills, Claire Cagnassola '17 and Priscilla Tyler '15 each delivered a score to give Amherst a 3-0 cushion. Tyler assisted Mills' goal, while Mia Haughton '16 provided the helpers on the markers by Cagnassola and Tyler.
A Hatch goal at the 19:26 mark put the visitors on the board with just under 20 minutes to play in the stanza, but back-to-back goals by Tyler and Coco Kusiak '17 lifted the advantage to 5-1. Kusiak and Mills notched the respective assists.
With just two minutes left in the period, the Mules responded with three straight scores as Hooper tallied a pair of goals, while Sasha Fritts added the other to pull Colby to within one at 5-4 after 30 minutes of play. Hatch assisted Hooper's first score, while Sara Miller aided her second marker of the span.
With less than 15 minutes to play in the second session, Hatch tied the game on a free position shot, before Haughton answered following a pass from Julia Crerend '18. Mills then put Amherst ahead by two (8-6) with a free position goal at the 12:22 mark. With 11:48 to play, Hatch pulled Colby to within one with a free position marker, before Passarelli increased the lead back to two with her goal off an assist by Haughton. With five minutes remaining, the Mules delivered a pair of goals to tie the game and set the stage for Amherst's dramatic overtime victory.
Cagnassola finished with a team-best four groundballs, while Forrest picked up three. Kusiak, senior tri-captain Heath Cockrell and Hanna Krueger '17 added two each. Cockrell and senior tri-captain caused three turnovers each for the Purple & White, while Krueger and Forrest caused two apiece.
Colby was led by Emilie Klein who notched five groundball, followed by Brittany Chin with three.
Amherst is back in action Wednesday, April 15 when it hosts Mount Holyoke College in non-league play at 6 p.m.