Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Salisbury

SALISBURY, Md. - The No. 2 ranked Salisbury University field hockey team defeated No. 5 ranked SUNY Cortland on Sunday afternoon, 3-2, to advance to the semifinal round in the NCAA Division III field hockey tournament. The Sea Gulls will now travel to South Hadley, Mass., to face No. 4 ranked Tufts University on Saturday, Nov. 21.

"We knew it was going to be a really intense game," said head coach Dawn Chamberlin of today's match-up. "They're strong, fast and very well coached."

Indeed, it was intense, as both teams committed a slew of fouls and each drew one green card in the game. The Sea Gulls and Red Dragons were fairly evenly matched in penalty corners, with Salisbury having 14 opportunities and SUNY Cortland having 10. Four of those corner opportunities for the Red Dragons came in the last five minutes of play as they scurried to catch up to the Sea Gulls' 3-1 lead, with SUNY Cortland player Liz DeWaters putting a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Anna Cooke (Ann Arbor, Mich.) (three saves) in the 69th minute of play. The maroon and gold, unfazed, maintained their 3-2 lead for the last 14 seconds of the game and took down the previously undefeated Red Dragons (19-1). With the win, the Sea Gulls improved their record to 18-1.

Salisbury fought for possession throughout the entire game, outshooting SUNY Cortland 15-8. The Red Dragons scored the first goal of the game in the 14th minute, marking the fifth time this season that the Sea Gulls have trailed in a match. In the 26th minute, sophomore back Tara McGovern (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) evened up the score off an assist from senior forward Lauren Correll (Bridgeville, Del.). Salisbury and SUNY Cortland entered halftime tied, with one goal apiece.

Both teams remained tied for almost 20 minutes into the second half, until sophomore forward Alison Bloodsworth (Delmar, Md.) fired a shot that went past Red Dragon keeper Ashley Hughes (eight saves). Just 26 seconds later, in the 63rd minute of play, Correll scored the unassisted game-winning goal off of a fast break. That goal gave Salisbury the 3-1 lead with just six minutes left to play, but the Sea Gulls maintained their composure and finished the game strong. "I knew that the [final] goal was going to be essential in winning the game. Two goals isn't enough against a team like Cortland," said Correll.

Last year, SUNY Cortland handed Salisbury its final loss of the season in the second-round of the NCAA tournament, as the Red Dragons defeated the Sea Gulls, 4-3, in overtime. Salisbury advances to the semifinal round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. "This is a huge win for us, mentally and physically," said Chamberlin. "We have overcome a lot this year. This is really just a great experience overall."