Devils emerge with 9-8 win after see-saw struggle

Rachael Reinis scored the winning goal of a see-saw SUNYAC struggle Tuesday as Fredonia State remained unbeaten with a 9-8 home win over Geneseo in women’s lacrosse.

“Geneseo is a very good team,” Fredonia State coach Chris Case said. “We have only beaten them twice ever. We are not accustomed to beating Geneseo in women’s lacrosse. I expected a close game and that’s what it was.”

Reinis scored into an open net with 11:20 left following a turnover behind the net by Geneseo goalkeeper Julie Bernatzky. The ball rolled out of bounds, requiring all players to hold their spots until the ensuing whistle. Reinis received a pass from Katie Kleine and scored before the Geneseo defenders had time to recover.

“One thing I told the team before the game was now we broke into the top 20, we have a bullseye on our back and we will get the other team’s best effort every time,” Case said. “We need to be able to handle that and match their intensity. Every team wants to beat a nationally ranked team. Our girls did a good job with that today. Geneseo presented a few challenges for us. We made adjustments and were able to capitalize.”

The flow of the game could not have been closer – neither team led by more than one goal. Geneseo held five leads and Fredonia State held four.

The final swing of momentum came when Kleine scored a woman-up goal to forge a 8-8 tie with 12:48 left. The tiebreaking goal – and eventual game-winner – by Reinis came with 11:20 left. The rest of the game was a back-and-forth defensive struggle, including key saves by both goalkeepers.

“Kleine had a phenomenal day, working extremely hard,” Case noted. “They were double and triple teaming her and she was still able to pick up four goals.

“Rachael was fantastic on draws,” Case continued. “A big part of the reason we won today was because Rachel won a lot of draws for us. What she did was critical to our win.”

The Blue Devils possessed the ball and ran out the clock for the final three minutes.

Geneseo’s Bernatzky finished with 11 saves while Fredonia State’s Casey Chiesa was credited with seven saves. Chiesa has started and won every game played by the Blue Devils this season.

“Our goalie made some fantastic saves at critical times,” Case noted. “The one save most people will remember was when a Geneseo player broke in all by herself and Casey made a fantastic play. There were critical stops throughout the game.”

Kleine led the Fredonia State offense with four goals while Cussins had two goals. Meredith Weber had two goals for Geneseo. Reinis collected six draw controls to lead both teams.