Nov. 13, 2010

Courtesy of Salisbury Athletics

GRANTHAM, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Salisbury University field hockey team continued on its road to the national championship on Saturday afternoon, soundly defeating first-time NCAA Division III Field Hockey tournament team Rhodes College by a score of 7-0. The win marks the Sea Gulls' tenth shutout victory of the season; in the past two NCAA tournament games alone, the maroon and gold have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 11-1.

After first watching host school Messiah College earn a 7-0 victory against Lynchburg College in the day's opening second-round contest, Salisbury (16-3) came out swinging. Scoring for the Sea Gulls was swift and consistent - starting with a rip from junior forward Caitlin Walker just 3:24 into the contest.

It seemed as if good things came in pairs for the Sea Gulls, who took a total of 22 shots and had three players score two goals each. Junior goalkeeper Anna Cooke made two saves, including an excellent diving stop in the 61st minute of play to preserve Salisbury's shutout.

A pair of goals by senior midfielder Kandice Hancock, junior forward Alison Bloodsworth and sophomore forward Erica Henderson gave Salisbury its third-highest scoring total this season. In standard Salisbury fashion, the defensive powerhouse led by senior back Ashley Kisner and junior back Shannon Hanratty kept the Lynx at bay and neutralized all chances for Rhodes to end its scoring drought.

The NCAA meeting between the Sea Gulls and Lynx marked a program-first. Rhodes (17-2), located in Memphis, Tenn., cracked the Kookaburra/NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coaches Poll) rankings this past week for the first time in the school's history by taking the No. 20 spot in the country.

Salisbury now advances to the quarterfinal game against top-ranked Messiah, which will be played tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 14) at 1 p.m. in Grantham, Pa. Please check back on beginning tomorrow at noon for live, up-to-the-minute updates via a "blog" in place of LiveStats.