March 18, 2009

No. 2 Salisbury Downs No. 1 Hamilton in Texas

from press release

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The Salisbury University women's lacrosse team has waited 305 days for this moment to face the team that ended its run in the 2008 NCAA Division III national tournament. Last year, Hamilton College handed top-ranked Salisbury its first and only loss of the season in the national semifinals. The Continentals hung onto beat the Sea Gulls 11-10 in Salem, Va., and the next day won their first-ever national championship. The two teams met again 1,366 miles from Salem in San Antonio, Texas, at St. Mary's University on Wednesday and this time No. 2 Salisbury turned the tables on No. 1 Hamilton with a 12-9 victory.

Salisbury (8-0) collects its 30th consecutive regular-season victory as five Sea Gulls collected at least two points on the day. SU was led by junior attacker Beth Rhodey (five goals) and senior midfielder Robyn Bishop (three goals, two assists) who both tallied five-point games. Senior midfielder Ashleigh Gender (three goals), junior attacker Kim Cudmore (one goal, two assists) and sophomore Logan Bilderback (two assists) helped balance the SU offense against the tough Hamilton (2-1) team. In goal, senior Sonja Stuart (six saves) recorded her seventh victory of the season.

The Sea Gulls found themselves in an early hole in the first half after Hamilton's Liz Rave (four goals) picked up a ground ball and deposited it into the back of the net to mark the game's first score just over one minute in. Rhodey would respond with the first of her five goals on the day with a free-position goal two minutes later at the 26:48 mark. The Continentals were not phased as they scored consecutive goals by Rave and Sarah Bray over the next four minutes to take a 3-1 lead.

SU used back-to-back goals by Bishop and Gender to even the score at three apiece with just over 14 minutes to go but Hamilton responded immediately as Kaillie Briscoe (one goal, one assist) netted a free-position goal minutes later to give the Continentals the lead back. The maroon and gold had consecutive tallies by Bishop and Rhodey to regain the lead, 5-4. The Salisbury defense was stifling the last 12 minutes of the frame as the Sea Gulls limited Hamilton to just one shot and would carry a one goal lead into halftime.

Salisbury added to its lead to begin the second half as Cudmore and Rhodey scored back-to-back goals. Hamilton stormed back with three unanswered tallies of its own and would tie the score at seven all with just over 17 minutes to go in the game. Gender scored two quick goals, 32 seconds apart, as SU took a two-goal lead, 9-7. Hamilton proved to be relentless once more as the Continentals tied the score at nine with two consecutive tallies of their own by Anne Gravely (three goals) and Rave. Bishop scored her third goal of the game seconds later to give SU the lead for good 10-9 with 11 minutes to go. Rhodey scored the final two goals to seal the victory for the Sea Gulls.

The Continentals goalie Kate Fowler (nine saves) played all 60 minutes in goal for Hamilton in the loss.

This is the third year in a row SU has been involved in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game and the fourth time during that span. Salisbury is now 3-1 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 games since 2007.

Salisbury will next face Roanoke College on the road Saturday, March 21, at 2 p.m.


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