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Kearsarge girls’ lacrosse sees season end with 9-8 overtime loss

  • From left: Kearsarge Regional High School players react as Lebanon High School scores the tying goal to send the game into overtime in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge Regional in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    From left: Kearsarge Regional High School players react as Lebanon High School scores the tying goal to send the game into overtime in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge Regional in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Sarah Stowell, left, comforts her sister Anna Stowell after Kearsarge High School's triple overtime loss to Lebanon High School in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Sarah graduated from Kearsarge in 2011 and came to watch her younger sister play.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Sarah Stowell, left, comforts her sister Anna Stowell after Kearsarge High School's triple overtime loss to Lebanon High School in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Sarah graduated from Kearsarge in 2011 and came to watch her younger sister play.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Kearsarge Regional High School's Haley Brook, #5, runs with the ball during a game against Lebanon High School in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Kearsarge Regional High School's Haley Brook, #5, runs with the ball during a game against Lebanon High School in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Kearsarge High School's Geneva Heffernan, #17, chases Lebanon High School's Amelia Gage, #18, during a game in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Kearsarge High School's Geneva Heffernan, #17, chases Lebanon High School's Amelia Gage, #18, during a game in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • Lebanon High School players celebrate their triple overtime win over Kearsarge Regional High School in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    Lebanon High School players celebrate their triple overtime win over Kearsarge Regional High School in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • From left: Kearsarge Regional High School players react as Lebanon High School scores the tying goal to send the game into overtime in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge Regional in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Sarah Stowell, left, comforts her sister Anna Stowell after Kearsarge High School's triple overtime loss to Lebanon High School in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Sarah graduated from Kearsarge in 2011 and came to watch her younger sister play.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Kearsarge Regional High School's Haley Brook, #5, runs with the ball during a game against Lebanon High School in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Kearsarge High School's Geneva Heffernan, #17, chases Lebanon High School's Amelia Gage, #18, during a game in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. Lebanon defeated Kearsarge in triple overtime by a score of 9-8 in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
  • Lebanon High School players celebrate their triple overtime win over Kearsarge Regional High School in the Division III girls' lacrosse semifinal in Hooksett on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. <br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

MANCHESTER – It had the feel of one of those destiny-type deals. Kearsarge, the No. 1-seeded team in the Division III girls’ lacrosse tournament, taking over its semifinal game against Lebanon, erasing a three-goal second-half deficit and grabbing the lead – with a championship rematch with Windham looming, no less.

The game seemed to be following a script – one that ran out of pages with 7.8 seconds left. That’s when the fifth-seeded Raiders scored the tying goal to stunningly force overtime. Minutes later, Lebanon scored again – this time in the third three-minute overtime period and on a man advantage, giving the Raiders a 9-8 sudden-death win that sent them on to face the Jaguars and gave the Cougars their first loss of the season.

“They got either a phenomenal or very lucky shot with eight seconds left to tie the game and send it into overtime,” said Kearsarge Coach Scott Slogic, whose team finished 14-1. “We got an unfortunate yellow card, put us down a man, and they were able to put in a nice shot.”

The airtight margin of victory was no surprise. Kearsarge won the two regular-season matchups, 12-10 and 7-6.

“Lebanon plays a great defensive game, very tough defensively,” Slogic said. “I think that’s reflected in the three games we played this year.”

The Raiders (13-4) went on the attack through two three-minute overtime periods and kept it up, buzzing around the net but failing to land a shot on goal as goalie Morgan Galluzzo (four saves) consistently broke up and intercepted passes as Lebanon tried to set up.

“I didn’t mind that,” Slogic said of the Raiders’ mindset, which was to delay their strikes in hopes of preventing a Kearsarge possession. “I didn’t mind going into the sudden-death overtime, first person scores. It changes how we think about how we play.”

The Raiders got a break, however, when the Cougars were issued a yellow card with 13 seconds left in the second session, and Lebanon cashed in on the advantage 48 seconds into the sudden-death third period when Amelia Gage found Emily Perryman – who had scored earlier to tie the game – down low for her third goal.

“I thought Kearsarge’s defense played its best defense in the overtimes. I was nervous,” Lebanon Coach Sara Ecker said. “I didn’t even see (the goal). I think I was still watching behind the goal, and the ball was in the net.”

Even down a player, Slogic thought his team was going to withstand the Lebanon push.

“I thought we would hold them,” he said. “We play tough defense. We’ve played tough defense all year. It was just a very good play and a good shot, and it got through.”

As close as the game ultimately was, both teams had moments of complete control over the action. Lebanon struck first, grabbing 3-1 and 4-2 leads early and building the advantage to 7-4 with 20 minutes left in the second half with an attack led by Gage, who finished with three goals, all coming in that stretch.

With danger brewing, the Cougars came to life. They registered the next six shots on goal, with Caitlin Anderson and Haley Brook trimming the gap to one and then Libby Brooks scoring her second and third goals of the game to put Kearsarge up with 4:31 to play.

“It was great to be the person to boost the team up,” Brooks said. “We just needed those. I just felt like we needed to take every opportunity that we had and use it as best we could.”

The Cougars tried to stall in the closing minutes, but Lebanon gained possession and spent the final minute of regulation on the attack. Shots by Gage and Shauna Rankin-Byrne missed, but Rankin-Byrne was able to eventually rifle a pass to Perryman in front for a one-timer to force extra time.

Ecker knew the Raiders wouldn’t go quietly, but wasn’t sure they could pull it off.

“I am confident they would do everything that they could,” she said. “They are that kind of team, that they would do everything they could to get that ball in the net. That was the only thing I could do.”

Anderson had two goals while Gemma Bready and Jonalyn Burt also scored for the Cougars and Anna Stowell added an assist. Kearsarge needed a little more, but Slogic wasn’t about to mull over regrets.

“I said this would be a great game, a great rematch between teams that really want to play intensely against each other,” he said. “And they did.”

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or abonifant@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @dbonifant.)

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