May 16, 2009

Salisbury, F&M Advance to WD3 Championship Game

from staff reports

SALEM, Va. - The NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament couldn't ask for a better opening semifinal game than the performance put on by Gettysburg College and Salisbury University on Saturday, May 16, at Donald J. Kerr Stadium.

The Sea Gulls tallied the contest's last two goals and survived a last-second shot by the Bullets that clanged off the post to slip by 11-10 and advance to Sunday's national title game against Franklin and Marshall. The Diplomats defeated defending Division III champion Hamilton, 16-13, in Saturday's second semifinal.

Gettysburg (16-4) and Salisbury (20-1) had the fans on the edge of their seats for 60 minutes as the two squads traded blow-for-blow, starting with the Bullets grabbing the initial lead on a goal by junior Hollis Stahl (Highstown, N.J./Peddie School) just over two minutes into the contest. The Sea Gulls wasted all of 10 seconds in answering as Robyn Bishop scored off the draw, kicking off a three-goal run that put Salisbury up 3-1 with 21 minutes left in the first half.

Hollis Stahl and Allegra Formento embrace after Stahl's second goal. Just over 10 minutes into the contest, freshman Hannah Church (Ellicott City, Md./Mount de Sales) tossed in a free position shot, the first of Gettysburg's season-high six free position goals of the day. The Bullets continued to hold the momentum as Stahl scored her second goal and juniors Lexie Hearn (Old Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) and Jessica Crane (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) each scored on free position attempts, putting the team up 5-3 with under five minutes left in the half.

Salisbury tried to find a way past junior goalkeeper Kristen Krammer (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg), but Krammer stonewalled the Sea Gulls in the first half, making seven her game-high nine saves in the opening stanza. She also made several big saves on free position attempts, holding Salisbury to 1-for-5 in the first period.

Salisbury scored the final goal of the first half and tacked on the opening score of the second to even the game at five. Hearn polished off a perfect effort on the eight-meter arc with her second and third free position goals, putting Gettysburg back in front 7-5 with 19:32 remaining.

Meagan Osipowich cut the deficit to one with a free position goal, but Hearn found Stahl just 49 seconds later to regain the two-goal advantage. The margin was short-lived, however, with Salisbury scoring 21 ticks later and adding the equalizer with 14:05 on the scoreboard.

Each time one team scored, the other seemed to take the ball down to its own offensive end and score. This time it was Gettysburg's turn as Crane beat her defender to the left and scored, giving the Bullets a 9-8 lead with 12:19 left.

As the clock dipped past the 10-minute mark, Bishop tossed in a goal to lock the game, but once again Gettysburg had a quick answer as sophomore Heidi Bitter (Darien, Conn./Westminster) converted a free position attempt 28 seconds later to set the score at 10-9 at 9:31.

Salisbury waited for its time to strike on offense and the Sea Gulls made it count, working the ball around the Bullets defense and eventually finding Ashleigh Gender in front for a goal to tie the game. Bishop had the next conversion, giving Salisbury its first lead since 10 minutes into the game with a goal at 3:08.

The Sea Gulls won the ensuing draw control and appeared to be ready to ride the time out, but Gettysburg's defense continued to pressure the ball and forced a turnover. The Bullets were unable to get a shot off on its offensive passion and Salisbury came up with the loose ball, marching its way to the other end of the field with under a minute to go.

The Sea Gulls made an errant pass behind the goal that went out of bounds, giving Gettysburg one last chance to tie the game with 39 seconds left on the clock. The Bullets cleared the ball all the way up the field and with time slipping away, Church made a move left to the goal. Her shot hit off the post and was secured by Salisbury as the horn went off.

Salisbury held slight advantages over Gettysburg in several categories, including shots (26-23), ground balls (12-9), and draw controls (13-10). The Bullets also committed two more turnovers than the Sea Gulls (14-12).

Hearn and Stahl each finished with three goals, the former adding an assist. Crane added two goals and tied Stahl for team honors with three draw controls.

Gettysburg's defense held Salisbury seven goals below its season average. Krammer finished with nine saves and two ground balls, while junior Anna Scanlan (Lutherville, Md./Roland Park Country School) recorded three ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Beth Rhodey tallied four goals for Salisbury and Bishop added a hat trick and two helpers. Osipowich came up with one goal and four helpers, while Gender managed two goals and one assist. Sonja Stuart made six saves in the Sea Gull goal.

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