BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb women's lacrosse rallied for five goals in the final nine minutes of action, but fell just short Wednesday in a 16-13 loss to Butler in Spangler Stadium.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (0-6) trailed 14-7 with 14:47 left after Butler (1-5) scored to extend its lead. Gardner-Webb had plenty left in the tank, however, going on a 6-0 run over the next 10 minutes to pull within a goal – 14-13 – on Abby Hanscom's score off an assist from Amanda Steinmuller with 3:59 on the clock.
Butler caught a major break on a yellow card call with less than 90 seconds remaining, and the visiting Bulldogs pushed its lead to 15-13 on a goal by Haley Hallenbeck with 1:16 on the clock. Hallenbeck added an insurance goal with seven seconds to play for the final margin.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to a 2-0 lead very early in the game, with Steinmuller taking the lid off with an unassisted goal at the 26:31 mark – and assisting on a score to Cassidy McDowell with 22:49 on the first half clock.
Butler rallied to tie the game and the two squads traded scores until midway through the opening half. Steinmuller scored her third of the day with 10:14 on the clock to trim Butler's lead to 6-5 – but the visitors netted the five goals of the half to go up 11-5 at the break – with the final score coming on Taylor Kinn's shot with only 11 seconds left on the clock.
Butler pushed its lead to 12-5 less than four minutes into the second half, but McDowell answered 10 seconds later and the Runnin' Bulldogs got back in the game with success on draw controls and by forcing eight second-half turnovers.
Gardner-Webb held a 41-28 shooting edge – including a 25-8 margin in the final 30 minutes to put pressure on Butler throughout the half.
McDowell scored a career-high five goals and dished off an assist in the game to lead Gardner-Webb offensively. Steinmuller continued her strong season, netting four goals and supplying four assists.
Ashley Fisch led the way with four ground balls and two caused turnovers, and also had three draw controls. Hanscom led a strong effort for Gardner-Webb with five draw controls herself.
Katie Sylvester got her second start at goalie and finished with three saves in 30 minutes. Melan White came off the bench and allowed only five goals in the second half – with two coming in the final 90 seconds.
Butler was led offensively by Hallenbeck, who scored five goals on six shots. Madison Christian and Sydney Pattison each had three goals – while Kinn and Journey Fischbeck had two each. Fischbeck added two assists. Ashley Lizzi scored one goal, had three assist and tied Hallenbeck for the team lead with three draw controls.
Gardner-Webb will remain at home for its next game, hosting LIU Brooklyn at 2:00 pm in Spangler Stadium.