Salisbury captures national crown in rematch of 2012 championship tilt
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Salisbury jumped out to an early lead against Trinity (Conn.) in the first half and was never seriously challenged the rest of the way en route to a 12-5 victory and its second NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse crown in school history.
The last time two unbeaten teams met for the DIII title was in 2004, when Middlebury edged TCNJ 13-11 in overtime.
The first half was virtually all Salisbury, up 6-2 at the break. After Trinity scored a couple of goals early in the second half, the Sea Gulls again set sail and cruised to the victory.
“We got a very good start,” Salisbury head coach Jim Nestor said. “Offensively, we took our time. We were very patient. I was telling our girls, ‘Don’t get too high. Cortland was up 3-0 also [in Saturday’s semifinal game against Trinity]. Just take one second, one minute, one play at a time.’”
Nestor had a game plan, and with Salisbury on top early, he was able to stick to it.
“What we’ve worked on all week, leading up into this whole weekend, it really paid off for the girls,” Nestor said. “They executed exactly the way we wanted them to. Defensively, they played great."
Trinity head coach Kate Livesay had hoped that the break at intermission would put a stop to Salisbury’s momentum, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
“I thought halftime would be a turning point for us,” Livesay said. “We were playing very uncharacteristically. We were throwing away some passes that we normally don’t do.
“I really don’t have an answer for why that was happening, but I had hoped halftime would be the break to clear their heads and limit those kinds of unforced errors. We were looking to find our comfort zone and Salisbury didn’t let us do that.”
After falling short in the title game last year to Trinity, the victory was especially sweet for Salisbury.
“The word ‘redemption’ has really meant a lot to us,” senior attacker Lauren Feusahrens said. “It’s also great to be the last undefeated team. It means a lot that we went up against someone hard and we finished and we won.”
Feusahrens recorded a game-high five goals on seven shot attempts. Meanwhile, senior attacker Maggie Roundy added a pair of goals for the Gulls.
“We knew last year we didn’t play the best game we were capable of playing,” senior attacker Katie Bollhorst said. “It fuels the fire. We had 365 days to wait until this moment again. So every day, every minute towards the end, we wanted to play Trinity. There’s no question we wanted that rematch.”
Salisbury last won the national championship in 2010, after falling in the title game the year before.
“Those girls fought and fought and never gave up,” Roundy said. “I feel like that was kind of identical to the way this year went.
“A year ago, we were on the bus. I’m pretty sure every girl in their mind was thinking, ‘Alright, let’s get to work. We’ve got to come back and redeem ourselves.’ To think about it in the back of your mind every single day, to finally get here -- there’s really no words. It’s awesome.”
Ashton Wheatley played all 60 minutes and had nine saves between the pipes in the winning effort.