May 16, 2010

Courtesy of Salisbury University

SALISBURY, Md. - It was 76 degrees and sunny at Sea Gull Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A perfect day for a lacrosse game. That day belonged to the No. 2-ranked Salisbury University women's lacrosse team as the Sea Gulls continue to descend on the program's first national title, soaring past No. 6-ranked The College of New Jersey, 12-7, in an NCAA regional final game. Salisbury now advances to the NCAA national semifinals, which will be played on May 22 at 2 p.m.

Not only does the win keep the Gulls in the hunt for the trophy, but it also serves as proof of redemption as Salisbury's only loss of the season came at the hands of TCNJ back on April 10. The score of that contest was 16-12.

It was clear from the get-go that Salisbury (19-1) had just one thing on its mind: scoring goals. The maroon and gold won the first draw control of the contest and senior attacker Beth Rhodey (Fallston, Md.) quickly capitalized, netting her first and only goal of the day just 57 seconds in. Within the first five minutes of the game, Salisbury had already taken a 3-0 lead over TCNJ (16-4); a foolproof Sea Gull defense prevented the Lions from getting anywhere near junior goalkeeper Julie Ann Caulfield (Drexel Hill, Pa.).

It took TCNJ over 17 minutes to get on the board, but Salisbury had already scored five goals before a Lion shot found its way past Caulfield. Fifteen minutes later the Lions scored their second and final goal of the half with just 1:15 left on the clock, but the damage was done. Salisbury led 7-2 at the half.

Salisbury shifted gears in the second half, still racking up the goals but playing more conservatively in an effort to preserve its lead. The Sea Gull defense continued guarding its cage brilliantly, keeping the Lions out of scoring range for the majority of the half. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Salisbury walked away with a resounding 12-7 victory. Junior attacker Logan Bilderback (Arnold, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Allie Wheatley (Cambridge, Md.) led the Gulls in scoring, chipping in three goals apiece.

"I thought it was a great game," said Head Coach Jim Nestor. "I thought we played well for the whole 60 minutes. I was proud of our defense. They held strong for the entire game."

Today's win marked the final game played at Sea Gull Stadium for six seniors: Rhodey, midfielders Jessica Chmielewski (Woodbine, Md.) and Stephanie Cahill (Maple Shade, N.J.), defenders Sarah McKinley (Timonium, Md.) and Jess Glazer (Ellicott City, Md.) and attacker Kim Cudmore (Bel Air, Md.).

The Sea Gulls now await the results of today's regional final game between Gettysburg College and Trinity (Conn.) College, which will be played at 3 p.m. Salisbury will face the winner of that contest.

The NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse National Championships will be hosted by Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., on May 22 and 23. The championship game, which will be played on May 23 at noon, will be televised on the CBS College Sports Network.