College of New Jersey 15,
College of New Jersey 15, SalisburyMay 22, 2005
Ewing, N.J. -- The drought is over for The College of New Jersey's women's lacrosse team as the Lions captured their first NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship since 2000 when TCNJ capped a perfect 17-0 season with the 2000 NCAA title. The Lions picked up the title with a 9-7 victory over previously undefeated and No. 1 Salisbury University in Lions' Stadium before a crowd of 738 on a cloudy Sunday afternoon on the Ewing campus.
TCNJ (16-2) has now won 12 national titles (includes 1992 title which was later vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions), including 10 under head coach Sharon Pfluger. The Lions come around full-circle as then Trenton State College earned the first-ever NCAA Division III Championship in 1985.
Making its first appearance in the title game in its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Sea Gulls finish their impressive season that included wins over then No. 1 Middlebury College and previously No. 2 TCNJ with a 17-1 overall record.
The Lions opened up the scoring 4:16 into the game with an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Lauren Gossner (Bensalem, PA/Villa Joseph Marie) but junior attacker Amanda Tack (Ellicott City, MD/River Hill) responded with a free position goal to knot it at 1-1 at 23:06. Junior midfielder Bridget Bigley (Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic) gave TCNJ a two-goal lead with back-to-back scores in a 2:17 span.
Salisbury's junior attacker Lynsey Bateman (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) cut the lead to one with an unassisted goal at 11:34. Gossner put the margin back up to two with a free position goal at 8:39. Bateman had the last goal of the half with another unassisted tally with 54 seconds remaining.
Gossner and junior midfielder Lauren Dougher (Blue Bell, PA/Mount St. Joseph Academy) helped the Lions start off the second half with three unanswered goals as Gossner had two of them and assisted on the other and Dougher added a goal and an assist. These three goals gave TCNJ its biggest lead of the game, 7-3, with 24:29 left in the game.
Senior midfielder Linda Ackermann (Sykesville, MD/Liberty) put the Sea Gulls on the scoreboard at 19:51 to pull within three but Bigley answered with an unassisted goal to keep the margin at four (8-4). Salisbury's head coach Jim Nestor signaled for a timeout at 15:24 to regroup his players. Bateman completed her hat trick as she had an unassisted goal to pull within three once again. Gossner picked up her fifth goal of the game as she converted a free position shot and that would be the Lions' final score of the game as TCNJ led 9-5 with 10:11 remaining.
Ackermann netted back-to-back unassisted goals to put the Sea Gulls within two (9-7) as 6:43 was listed on the clock. This was the closest Salisbury had been since the final minute of the first half when the Lions held a 4-3 advantage.
The Sea Gulls won the ensuing draw control but then turned it over in their offensive end and freshman midfielder Karen Doane (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) picked up the ground ball, helping TCNJ to a good clear. The Lions held on to the ball for five minutes and 12 seconds of the remaining five minutes and 24 seconds of the game before turning it over with 12 ticks on the clock.
Gossner finished the game with career-bests of five goals and six points to lead all players in the championship game as TCNJ avenged one of its losses of the season, a 9-7 defeat to then No. 4 Salisbury on March 13 at Salisbury. Bigley contributed three goals and Dougher had a goal and an assist.
TCNJ's head coach Sharon Pfluger said, "I'm so happy for them, we've worked so hard this year. We've never started a season off with two losses early on&" She added, "These girls fought really hard to get what the earned today."
Ackermann and Bateman each had three goals apiece for the Sea Gulls, while Tack chipped in one.
"We had a great season. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we've gotten as far as any Salisbury lacrosse team has ever gotten," stated Bateman.
Junior goalkeeper Megan Marquardt (Phoenixville, PA/Phoenixville Area) was stellar in goal for the Lions, recording nine saves in the victory. The Sea Gulls' junior Ali Goetz (Fallston, MD/Fallston) finished with 10 stops in the game.
2005 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship All-Tournament Team
Lauren Dougher, MVP TCNJ
Bridget Bigley TCNJ
Lauren Gossner TCNJ
Megan Marquardt TCNJ
Meredith Spangler TCNJ
Linda Ackermann Salisbury
Lynsey Bateman Salisbury
Regan Miller Salisbury
Cassie Abel Colorado College
Alana Dalton Colorado College
Caitlin McCormick Middlebury
Elizabeth Renehan - Middlebury
-- Courtesy TCNJ