PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Player of the Game Kristin Plitnick (Sr., Hollywood, Fla.) posted a hat-trick and goalie Cheyenne Porter (Sr., Orlando, Fla.) stopped eight shots as No. 5-ranked/Florida Division Champion the University of Central Florida survived a fourth quarter comeback bid by No. 4/Midwest Division Champion Grand Valley State University, 7-6, to take the Fifth Place game at the 2017 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship.
Competing at the University of Pittsburgh's Joe C. Trees Pool, the Lady Knights held a 4-2 lead going into the fourth quarter prior to Lakers pulling within one with 47 seconds left on the clock. However, GVSU was unable to cash in on one final chance to allow Central Florida to escape with the narrowest of victories.
Leading 2-1 by halftime as Dakota Porter (Sr., Orlando, Fla.) and Plitnick scored at the 1:36 and 39 seconds marks of the first and second quarters, respectively, versus a game-opening strike form GVSU's Britney Ledger (So., Hudsonville, Mich.) with 3:01 on the first quarter clock, Central Florida appeared to have the game under control in the opening moments of the third quarter.
Following back-to-back scores by Plitnick with 6:44 (even-strength) and 3:10 (penalty shot) remaining in the third quarter to grab a 4-1 lead, Grand Valley chipped a goal off the spread to pull within 4-2 prior to the start of the fourth quarter as Kara Vandawater (Jr., Rockford, Mich.) flushed a feed at 2:01.
Central Florida responded to Vandawater's strike in the waning moments of the frame with scores from Alicia Emerine (Fr., Orlando, Fla.) and Jessica Robinson (So., St. Louis, Mo.) at 6:43 and 4:57 of the final quarter to apparently build a lead which the Lakers would be unable to overcome down the stretch.
However, although the perception proved to be reality, Grand Valley State gave the Lady Knights some agita and hear palpitations in the final two minutes of the contest.
Following a man-up score by Jess Hinderer (Sr., Chelsea, Mich.) at 4:07 to move the Lakers back within three at 4:07, UCF got the score back with 2:56 to go as Robinson roped in her second tally of the morning for a 7-3 lead and what would prove to be the game-winning goal.
From there, the game belonged to Grand Valley State as Vandawater (2:39) put away a natural goal at 2:39 to begin a three-score outburst by the Lakers.
Murielle Garbarino (Fr., Grand Haven, Mich.) and Hinderer trimmed the lead down to 7-6 with man-up (1:43) and even-strength (47 seconds) scores, respectively, but the Lakers were unable to complete the comeback in falling by one.
For UCF, Robinson joined Plitnick in posting a multi-goal game with a pair, while Dakota Porter and Emerine slipped in single strikes. The Fifth Place finish marks the second best finish at the Women's National Collegiate Club Championship for the program after previously collecting runner-up (2013), eighth (2010), 10th (2015) and 11th (2009) place marks.
Grand Valley State, which finishes in Sixth Place for the second consecutive year, received pairs of goals from Hinderer and Vandawater along with single markers by Garbarino and Ledger. Hannah Heemstra (Jr., Zeeland, Mich.) took the loss with seven saves as the Lakers tied their all-time best finish at the event after previously taking Sixth (2016) and 11th (2010) in two prior trips to the Women's Collegiate Club Championship tournament.
|No. 4 Grand Valley State University
|No. 5 University of Central Florida
Central Florida Goals: Kristin Plitnick (3); Jessica Robinson (2); Dakota Porter; Alicia Emerine
GVSU Goals: Jess Hinderer (2); Kara Vandawater (2); Murielle Garbarino; Britney Ledger
Saves: Central Florida - Cheyenne Porter (8) ; GVSU - Hannah Heemstra (7)
Exclusions: Central Florida - 4 ; GVSU - 3
Advantage Opportunities: Central Florida - -for-3 ; GVSU - -for-4
Sprints: Central Florida - 3-for-4 (1st, 3rd, 4th) ; GVSU - 1-for-4 (2nd)
Officials: Dave Alberstein, Nikola Malezanov
University of Central Florida's Cheyenne Porter
Grand Valley State University's Murielle Garbarino unleashes a shot over the University of Central Florida's Maddie Potter