AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Heather Kestner (Wilmington, DE) shoveled a shot over her right shoulder with 44 seconds remaining in overtime to lead Amherst to its second straight ECAC Division III New England Championship. The senior tri-captain finished the day with a game-high four goals and one assist as Kestner earned Tournament MVP honors for posting nine goals and two assists (11 points) in two days for top-seeded Amherst.
Amherst jumped out to a 3-1 lead less than 10 minutes into the game before Brooke Goodchild (Marblehead, MA) notched a pair of goals to tie the match at 3-3 with 11:37 left in the first half. Bowdoin went ahead, 4-3, on the first of three Adrienne Gratry (Chagrin Falls, OH) tallies, but Amherst responded with a shot by Kestner at the top of the circle to even the score at the half.
Both teams remained deadlocked at 4-4 though Bowdoin threatened early in the half. Senior tri-captain Heidi Cline (Andover, MA) ended the stalemate at the 17:03 mark to give Amherst a 5-4 lead, and sophomore Alie Stechenberg (Longmeadow, MA) added a pair for a 7-4 Amherst advantage with 13:50 left on the clock.
Bowdoin retaliated with a three-goal run in the final 8:48 that sent the match into overtime. Lael Byrnes (Salem, NH) kicked off the run with a feed from Heather Hawes (Westport, MA), who notched the equalizer with 3:35 left in regulation with a blast into the right corner of the cage.
Gratry gave the Polar Bears an 8-7 advantage with 2:23 remaining in the second overtime period before Amherst started feeding the ball to Kestner. The senior evened the game at 8-8 off a free position shot on goal with 1:33 on the clock, and Amherst retained possession when junior Jen Corso (Collingswood, NJ) was fouled on an inbounds play. Corso fed the ball to rookie Kristin Osborn (Morristown, NJ) on the right side of the field, who led Kestner to the goalmouth for the game-winner.
Polar Bear keeper Bowen Holden (Lincoln, MA) made 10 stops for Bowdoin while fellow rookie Jess Thaxton (Wayland, MA) saved six shots for Amherst. Gratry finished with three goals to lead Bowdoin to a 9-5 finish. Amherst concludes its season with a 12-3 mark to match last year's mark of most wins in a single season.
ECAC Division III New England Women's Lacrosse Championship
1 2 1ot 2ot -- F Bowdoin (9-5) 4 3 0 1 -- 8 Amherst (12-3) 4 3 0 2 -- 9 Bowdoin G A P Amherst G A P Adrienne Gratry 3 0 3 Heather Kestner 4 1 5 Heather Hawes 2 0 2 Heidi Cline 2 1 3 Brooke Goodchild 2 0 2 Alie Stechenberg 2 0 2 Lael Byrnes 1 0 1 Kristin Osborn 1 0 1 Totals 8 0 8 Totals 9 2 11Total Shots: A 31, B 18.
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