Women’s Lacrosse Bests Navy in Double Overtime


Graydon Paul/Villanovan Athletics

Women’s lacrosse defeated Navy in double overtime this past weekend.

Elijah McDow, Staff Writer

After a midweek victory over La Salle, the women’s lacrosse team continued its win streak on Saturday, when it defeated Navy in double overtime, 11-10.

While the Wildcats were victorious, they started the game from behind, quickly finding themselves down, 2-0.

After a slow start, the Wildcats regained their momentum with a goal from sophomore midfielder Sami Carey in the third minute of play, which put Villanova on the board heading into the second quarter. 

In the second quarter, the Wildcats went on a scoring streak. The first goal came from junior attacker Kayla Gulmi, followed by back-to-back goals from sophomore attacker Sydney Pappas, completing a 4-0 run.

“Once our team trusted themselves and trusted the system, things started to click,” head coach Jill Batcheller said. “Our defense did a good job of holding [Navy] to low numbers and that allowed our offense to adjust.” 

Despite their streak of goals, the Wildcats lost the lead just before halftime, when Navy went on a scoring run of their own, going up, 6-4. 

“I think down the line we’ll be better at holding the lead,” Batcheller said. “I think this was a really great test for us to work on getting the lead and then keeping it.”

Down by two goals at halftime, the Wildcats looked to adjust. 

“We talked about how we needed to get back to playing our game and not feeding into Navy’s,” Batcheller said. “We had so many cards in the first half, and I think that was us playing into them so we just used halftime as a reset and made adjustments in the attack.”

Coming out of the break, things started slowly, until junior attacker Jessica Lee scored a goal in the fourth minute. Lee’s goal was the momentum the team needed, as freshman midfielder Maddie Luer contributed on the offensive end, tying the game with two minutes left in the third quarter.

As Villanova headed into the final quarter of play, Lee helped to regain the Wildcat lead after a goal on a free position just a minute into play. Moments later, Pappas doubled the lead and completed her hat trick with a goal in the ninth minute of the quarter.

While it seemed like the Wildcats were about to pull away, Navy’s aggression intensified. After seeing Navy trim the Wildcat lead, Batcheller called her final timeout. 

“I wanted to make sure that everyone was good with their spots in our offense,” Batcheller said. “The timeout was a way for us to reset and work on finishing out the game.”

Despite the timeout prompting a reset, Navy’s momentum was too strong. In the final minute of play the Mids tied the game, 10-10, forcing overtime. 

“One of our messages [going into overtime] was to stay loose, relaxed and have fun with it,” Batcheller said. “We talked about what we were going to be running offensively and defensively and tried to send the message that we trust [the players] and we trust the decisions they are making.” 

The first overtime saw back and forth play, with neither team able to capitalize on their offensive opportunities, sending the game into a second overtime. 

With a few key saves from graduate goalkeeper Olivia Conquest, Cary was able to bring the ball down the field. She scored a goal with just over a minute left to play, crushing any hopes Navy had of returning to Annapolis with a win.

“Olivia is amazing,” Batcheller said. “I think in the moments at the end of the game she showed her experience and gave our team a lot of confidence.”

The Wildcats will head to California this coming weekend to play USC on Sunday, March 5, and San Diego State on Wednesday, March 8. 

“USC plays a zone defense and that’s going to be the first time we see this,” Batcheller said. “We schedule these teams because we know it’s going to prepare us for the teams we see in our conference. The physicality is at another level, and the gamesmanship when playing teams in the top 20 is always different.”

For Batcheller, and the rest of the Wildcats, Spring Break will provide an opportunity to grow even closer as a team. 

“A lot of the seniors on the team have never had a Spring Break trip because of Covid,” Batcheller said. “To be able to have the opportunity all together, [we are] so excited because it allows us to play lacrosse against a top opponent from a different region while gaining more exposure for our program.”