March 15, 2012

WD3 Notebook: Salisbury Seeks Another Championship Run

by Mark Macyk |

Katie Bollhorst leads championship-minded Salisbury through four games with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists).
© Salisbury 

They have short memories at Salisbury. The Sea Gulls don't sit on the sidelines and reminisce about the 2010 national championship and they don't sulk thinking of last season when they started with 10 straight wins, but missed the final four by a goal.

That last-year-doesn't-exist mindset also means Salisbury is never rebuilding.

"Each year's a new year," said Salisbury coach Jim Nestor.

So despite featuring four seniors and eight freshmen, the goals remain the same for the Sea Gulls: win the Capital Athletic Conference and make an NCAA championship run.

No. 2 Salisbury (4-0) has defeated three ranked teams, No. 17 Catholic, No. 4 Cortland and No. 14 Washington & Lee, in its past three games. The results have ranged from dominating (19-3 over W&L) to the nerve-wracking (12-11 over Cortland).

Three of Salisbury's next four opponents, Mary Washington, Bowdoin and Franklin & Marshall, are currently ranked and the other, Elizabethtown, was previously.

The Sea Gulls don't think about last year but if they did, they could draw on last year's schedule, which saw them play nine teams ranked in the season-ending top 20. Many of this year's foes are rematches from a year ago, but Cortland is new. Salisbury was not going to miss a chance to put a team like Cortland on its schedule.

"It's nice to get a look at them early," Nestor said. "It allowed us to see a final four caliber team earlier on than we normally do."

Salisbury built a 12-7 lead before holding off a late Cortland rally to seal its March 7 win. Lauren Feusahrens led the way with four goals and two assists and Allie Wheatley had four goals, including the eventual game-winner early in the second half.

Lindsay Abbot had two goals and three assists for Cortland (2-1) and Shauna Hutchinson made 10 saves.

Feusahrens and Wheatley kept it up three days later with four goals and two assists and five goals, respectively, against W&L (4-2).

For the season Wheatley leads Salisbury in goals with 17. Feusahrens has 13 goals and five assists. Katie Bollhorst, who had two goals and three assists against W&L, leads the team with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists). Alyssa Folwer has seven goals and five assists.

"We've just been playing really sound from end-to-end," Nestor said. "Playing good defense and taking care of the offensive end."

Salisbury hosts Elizabethtown on Saturday and heads to last season's NCAA runner-up Bowdoin on Tuesday.

Capital Teams Handing Out Punishment

Salisbury's brutal non-league slate will be good preparation for the Capital Athletic Conference, which is giving the NESCAC a run for its money, with four top 20 teams.

No. 18 York (6-1) tied a program record for goals in a game during a 23-3 victory at Saint Vincent on Wednesday. Kim Wayson led with three goals and three assists and Meaghan Doak had four goals and one assist. The win came three days after the Spartans blew past previously-ranked Dickinson 16-3. Wayson had five goals and two assists in that one and Erica Mulford had four goals and two assists.

York begins its conference season Saturday against Wesley (3-3) and Tuesday will host No. 19 Stevenson (3-2), which has already scored victories over Dickinson, McDaniel and Roanoke.

Leah Warner has led Stevenson in the early season with 12 goals and seven assists and Emily Gartrell has 14 points and two assists.

Mary Washington (4-1) comes in at No. 15 this week, holding off a late rally to defeat Roanoke in Puerto Rico last week. UMW plays at Frostburg State on Saturday.

Tufts Welcomes Hamilton to the NESCAC

Hamilton did not lose a conference game in its final two seasons in the Liberty League, but fell at Tufts 8-7 in its first game in the NESCAC on Saturday.

Casey Egan scored on a free position with 45 seconds remaining to win the game for No. 11 Tufts (2-0). Hamilton's Rachel Friedman had tied it on a free position two minutes earlier, the only score of the game's final five goals tallied by Hamilton. Gabby Horner had three goals to lead Tufts, which had trailed 6-3 midway through the second half.

Tufts kept rolling with a 12-7 win over Connecticut College on Tuesday. Lara Kozin led the Jumbos with two goals and three assists and Kelly Hyland had three goals and one assist.

Hamilton bounced back with an 11-10 overtime victory over Wesleyan (2-1) on Monday. Katie D'Antonio scored off an assist from Libby Shultz with five seconds remaining to win it for the Continentals (1-1). Hamilton has road games against Buffalo State and St. John Fisher this week and a spring break trip to Florida against Bowdoin and Colby before its home-opener on March 27 against Oneonta.

The NESCAC has eight teams in the top 20 this week, and five -- No. 5 Bowdoin; No. 6 Trinity; No. 7 Colby; No. 8 Middlebury and No. 10 Hamilton -- in the top 10.

Liberty League Moves On

With Hamilton gone, the Liberty League appears up for grabs. Skidmore (3-0), Rensselaer (3-0) and Bard (2-0) have all opened the season undefeated.

Skidmore looks particularly impressive, with Spring Break victories over Fredonia and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps this week. Lauren Madden has been the team's leading scorer early, with nine goals and one assist. Skidmore faces a tough non-league test against Middlebury on Wednesday.

Last season's Liberty League runner-up, Union (0-1), has a brutal opening schedule. The Dutchwomen lost their opener 16-4 to Cortland and still has Trinity, Williams and Buffalo State before opening its Liberty schedule against Bard on March 30.

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