COLUMBIA, MD –Anne Arundel Community College freshman Natalie Sonntag scored 3:46 into overtime to seal the victory for the Riverhawks in the NJCAA Region XX Women's Lacrosse Championship Saturday afternoon at Howard Community College. The Riverhawks handed defending region champion Harford Community College its first loss of the season with the 19-18 win. The championship title marks the second in the last three years for AACC.
Sonntag finished the game with five goals, an assist, and 11 draw controls en route to being named Tournament Offensive Most Valuable Player. Freshman Lacey Hinkle totaled a career-high seven points with five goals and two assists, and freshman Bridgette Tayman scored five goals and added an assist. Jordan Snyder scored a goal and assisted another while causing four turnovers.
The game was close from start to finish with neither team holding more than a four-goal lead and seeing eight lead changes in the contest.
AACC led 16-12 midway through the second half, but saw Harford chip away at the lead, scoring four goals in a 4:20 span to knot things at 16-16 with 9:02 to play. Hinkle then found Snyder at the doorstep to give the Riverhawks back the lead, 17-16, with under seven minutes to go.
But Harford didn't back down, tying the game with under five to play and then hitting the go-ahead goal with two minutes on the clock. Hinkle responded with a free position goal at 1:49 to knot the game at 18-18.
Harford's Sarah Dudick was whistled for her second yellow card of the game with 1:43 to play, and Mary Grieg followed with another yellow, putting AACC on a two-man advantage and sidelining Dudick for the remainder of the game.
AACC successfully cleared the ball, but was whistled for an elbow inside, turning the ball over to the Owls with just over a minute to go. Harford cleared the ball and was then awarded a free position shot. Sarah Healy came up huge with the save, her 15th of the game, and AACC ran out the clock with the ball.
Starting the overtime down still down two players, Harford corralled the draw and earned a free position shot less than a minute into overtime. Healy again stonewalled the Owls and Sonntag forced a turnover to set up the winning possession. The Riverhawks cleared the ball and drew a free position attempt and immediately a second. The pulled the ball out and Hinkle connected with Sonntag for the win.
AACC held an 11-10 lead at halftime, backed by 10 first-half saves from Healy, who was named Tournament Defensive MVP.
Harford won the groundball battle at a 21-12 clip, and outshot the Riverhawks, 42-35. AACC connected on 5-of-9 free position shots, and held the Owls to a 5-17 effort in free position shots.
Snyder, Hinkle, Bridgette Tayman, and Mariah Gray were all named to the All-Tournament Team.
AACC will host the 2019 NJCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship May 18-19 at Siegert Stadium. The four-team field will be announced Monday, May 13.