MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Trinity (Conn.) survived a Salisbury second-half rally to capture its first national championship. For Trinity head coach Kate Livesay its her third national championship, but the first title as a coach.
Livesay played her college career at Middlebury and won two national titles for the Panthers and studied the game under Middlebury coach Missy Foote who won the national championship on three separate occasions.
Livesay knew that her passion was lacrosse and after completing her playing career with Middlebury, Livesay took the reigns of Trinity’s program in 2006. Her former coach couldn’t have been more pleased.
“She was a real student of the game, as defenders tend to be, they really study what the other team is doing both ways,” Foote said.
As a former defender herself, Livesay’s team reflects what she believes is one of the leading qualities of the team.
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“Defense is a strength of our team. It’s an area I have a lot of confidence in. I can also give them some feedback. It allows us to play around with zone and man. I love the defensive side of the game,” Livesay said. “We also have some great defenders who play very well.”
Livesay would use her former coach as a resource and share ideas even though both coaches’ teams were in the same conference.
“We share a lot about our teams, we even give secrets away during the year,” Livesay said. “We are always trying to help each other. We love to see Middlebury win, we just like to beat them when we play them.”
Middlebury was eliminated on Saturday by Salisbury, but that didn’t stop Foote from giving her former player a very important phone call.
“We talked last night for just a little bit, it helped me prepare for a few things today, and we talked about some defensive focuses,” said Livesay.
And the small chat paid off. Trinity shut out Salisbury in the first half. It was the first time the Sea Gulls have been shut out in a half this season. The Bantams implored their zone defense which only limited Salisbury to seven goals, more than half of their season’s average.
“They’re a swarming defense, and it’s hard to figure out, from what we have seen all year,” Salisbury coach Jim Nestory said. “It was a little bit different, things didn’t open up as easy as we thought.”
But Salisbury made adjustments in the second half and rallied back to tie the game. Livesay called a crucial time out and told her team to settle down.
“I told them to catch their breath, just get the ball and be a little bit more aggressive on offense.”
Salisbury scored again to take the lead, but then Trinity rattled off four unanswered goals and survived to win the national championship.
For Livesay it was her first title as a coach and after winning two with Middlebury as a player she describes the key differences.
“You are working with 23 girls you are emotional invested, as a player you can just do your part.”
Also for Trinity it was their first appearance to the final weekend of the tournament and their first national championship.
“Its incredible, it was so hard to get here. To get to the national semifinal weekend, and do what we did, we took advantage of the opportunity it feels good. It’s so hard to get to this point. We are just going to enjoy this.”