May 1, 2010

Care to Dance? Bullets, Dips Tangle Again

from press release

– It's the same old song and dance in the finals of the Centennial Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament as Gettysburg College and Franklin & Marshall College will meet for the eighth consecutive season after each team eased past their respective semifinal opponents on Saturday at Clark Field.

Top seed and host Gettysburg (16-2) handled fourth seed Haverford College (13-5) 16-6 as seniors Jessica Crane (Sudbury, Mass./Sudbury-Lincoln) and Nina Emala (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr School) each put up four points. No. 2 seed Franklin & Marshall (13-3) recorded the first shutout in the 10-year history of the CC Tournament with a 15-0 decision over third seed Ursinus (11-6) with goalie Lidia Sanza making four saves and Meredith Lussier accumulating six points.

On a hot and sunny day at Clark Field, Gettysburg, ranked fifth in the latest Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association national poll, took care of business against playoff newcomer Haverford. After trading opening goals, the Bullets went on a 6-0 run with Crane's second goal of the game off a feed from senior Lexie Hearn (Old Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) putting the score at 7-1 with 11:59 left in the first half.

Gettysburg capped the period with the final three scores, including back-to-back free-position goals by senior Hollis Stahl (Hightstown, N.J./Peddie School) and sophomore Hannah Church (Ellicott City, Md./Mount de Sales), and took a 10-2 lead into the break.

After posting just four draw controls and three shots in the opening half, Haverford built some momentum to start the final period by winning three of four draws and scoring the first three goals to cut the deficit to 10-5 at 24:41.

Junior Marnie Commins (Fairfax Station, Va./Robinson) scored for Gettysburg at 19:51 to halt the Ford run temporarily, but Alexa Pesce dished out her third assist of the game to Mary Alice Postel less than a minute later to slice the lead to 11-6.

The Bullets took over the remainder of the game, winning four of the next five draw controls and forcing turnovers on each of Haverford's next five possessions. Crane tossed in a free position goal at 17:23 to kick off a 5-0 run by the Bullets to end the game. Senior Lauren Woodman (Denver, Colorado, Kent Denver) dished out a pair of assists on the final two goals, including a one-timer by Emala at 10:35.

Gettysburg finished with the edge in shots (30-12), ground balls (15-10), and draw controls (14-10).

Crane finished with three goals, one assist, two ground balls, two draw controls, and three caused turnovers. Emala posted two goals and two helpers and joined Stahl on Gettysburg's top-10 scoring list, finishing the day with 183 career points. Stahl tallied two goals and three caused turnovers and led all players with five draw controls.

On the defensive side of the ball for Gettysburg, senior Nicole Ditillo (Baldwin, Md./Fallston) and junior Becky Lutz (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) each posted three ground balls. Senior goalie Kristen Krammer (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) made two saves in the win.

Josie Ferri and Jen Schmidt each scored twice and goalie Leah Hammerschlag made five saves for Haverford.

Saturday's second semifinal was all Franklin & Marshall, ranked seventh in the nation. Lussier needed only two goals to reach 150 for her career and she made short work of reaching that by driving to the goal twice in the first 10 minutes for easy scores. She wasn't the only Diplomat rising up the ranks as Blake Hargest posted two goals in the first half, the second breaking the Centennial Conference record for points in a career held by Swarthmore College's Katie Tarr (324).

After ending the first half with a 9-0 lead, F&M tossed in six more goals in the second half, including the first of the season by Meghan Cohen off a nice feed from Lussier at 6:09.

Ursinus had no answer for the Diplomat defense, managing just eight shots with the four on goal stopped cold by Sanza. The Dips were efficient on the other end with 15 goals on just 26 shots, while also winning 14-of-17 draw controls.

Lussier finished the day with four goals and two assists and Hargest posted three goals. Maggie Mae Shields tallied two goals and one assist, while Sarah Veneski dished out a game-high three helpers and added a goal. Paulette Cutruzzula corralled four draw controls and posted one ground ball and one caused turnover.

Gettysburg and F&M have met in every conference final dating back to the 2003 season. The Diplomats have won each of the last three titles, but the Bullets have won every championship meeting on their own turf. Gettysburg leads all Centennial schools with six titles. In the regular season meeting on April 21, the Bullets edged past the Diplomats 8-7 at Clark Field.

The two archrivals square off Sunday, May 2, at 2 p.m. with the winner receiving the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

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