SALEM, Va. - The No. 5 Lock Haven University lacrosse team rallied midway through the second half to tie the game, but top-ranked Adelphi hung on for a 7-5 win the NCAA Division II Championship game.
It marked the second time in five seasons where Lock Haven (19-3) played in the national championship game. Both times LHU lost to Adelphi (22-0), who capped off a perfect 2014 season on its way to the Panthers' sixth NCAA crown.
The loss snapped a 17-game winning streak for Lock Haven, who started the year 2-2 and needed all 17 wins to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament field and national title game.
The game proved to be a physical defensive battle until the end with both goalies keeping their teams in the game.
Despite the loss, LHU head coach Kristen Selvage was incredibly proud of her team's effort and season.
"I'm proud of our team and how hard it fought," Selvage said. "I thought our defense was great and it was a total team effort today. We fought for everything all season long."
Rachel Ward, who led all scorers in Saturday's semifinal victory, netted a pair of goals Sunday. Jessica Pandolf, Kelly Hamilton and Jenna Dingler also scored for the Lady Eagles.
Senior Chelsea Borrino dished out a game-high three assists, Pandolf added one.
Haven goalie Chrissy Baffuto was nothing short of spectacular, making seven saves.
Baffuto credited the exceptional defensive effort in front of her.
"Every save boosts your confidence and I felt comfortable," said Baffuto. "The defense played great in front of me so that gave me confidence as well."
The Panthers led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals from Jackie Jahelka and Alexa Froccaro. Jahelko broke the deadlock 11:53 in and with 4:47 left in the first half, Froccaro made it 2-0.
Baffuto set the tone for Lock Haven early making five saves, all of which were brilliant point-blank stops.
Adelphi and Lock Haven exchanged goals before Dingler tied the game at 4-4 on a quick strike. Borrino set up a cutting Dingler with a great feed from behind the net and Dingler sent the ball home in one motion.
The Panthers pushed the lead back to two goals, 6-4 with under 10 minutes to play.
Pandolf got on the board, scoring for the 79th time this year - breaking the all-time LHU single season goal record. More importantly the goal made it 6-5 with 7:14 to play in the game.
With 4:23 left in the contest, Rachel Aitkens gave the Panthers the insurance they needed and capped the game's scoring - giving AU the 7-5 lead.