Nov. 14, 2010

Courtesy of Salisbury Athletics

GRANTHAM, Pa. - The NCAA Division III Field Hockey quarterfinal game between Salisbury University and Messiah College was many things - a rematch of the 2009 National Championship game, a longstanding rivalry between two powerhouse programs, an incredible opportunity for both teams to showcase their offensive and defensive prowess. Though the contest was all of these, and more, it did not tip in favor of the seventh-ranked Sea Gulls as the top-ranked Falcons earned a 4-1 victory to advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.

The maroon and gold struck first, in the seventh minute of the contest, as senior forward Katy Lamboni collected the ball from a scuffle in front of the cage and ripped it past Falcon keeper Kayleigh Stewart to give Salisbury its only lead of the day. Messiah evened up the score eight minutes later, and would score once more in the first half to take a 2-1 advantage into halftime.

The Sea Gulls (16-4) refused to let up, but the number of penalty corners was tipped significantly in the Falcons' favor - 14-1 in the first half alone - and the same theme continued into the second half. A Messiah score just 54 seconds into that half would increase the Falcon lead and an insurance goal in the 42nd minute gave the team a three-goal cushion which Salisbury could not overcome.

An outstanding defensive push in the second half rendered Messiah (18-2) scoreless for the last 27 minutes of the game, though the Falcons outshot the Sea Gulls 26-4 and held a 21-2 advantage in penalty corner opportunities. Junior goalkeeper Anna Cooke notched nine saves, tying her career-high, while junior back Shannon Hanratty posted three defensive saves that would have likely resulted in Messiah goals. Salisbury's offense played hard for the full 70 minutes of the contest and was relentless in its effort to get the ball on its side of the field.

The contest marked the end of the highly successful careers of seven seniors: Lamboni, Liz Tollett, Ashley Kisner, Kandice Hancock, Katie Fost, Christine Craddock and Camile Walker. Together, the team posted a four-year record of 71-11 and collected three Capital Athletic Conference titles as well as the 2009 NCAA Division III Field Hockey National Championship.