For the 13th straight season, Salisbury University’s women’s lacrosse team hoisted the trophy that declared them the best team in the Capital Athletic Conference.
In a battle of the top two seeds, the Sea Gulls defeated York College 6-3 to advance to the NCAA Tournament once again.
“We played very well defensively, and offensively had some very good possessions,” Sea Gulls’ head coach Jim Nestor said. “I’m very pleased and feeling very good.”
Salisbury (14-3) had defeated the Spartans (13-5) by a score of 10-7 at Sea Gull Stadium earlier in the season, but both teams looked very different than they did back in March.
In a very tight first half, the Sea Gulls were able to manage a 3-2 lead at halftime with goals coming from attack Hannah Young and midfielders Bethany Baer and Gabbi Nieves.
“We need to be able to put more points on the board. Our offense needs to be able to produce a little bit more (in the NCAA tournament),” Nestor said.
Despite the slow start on offense, Salisbury was able to come out strong in the second half with two quick goals from Baer and a score from senior attack Kate Haker that sealed the game for the Gulls.
“It’s helpful going into NCAAs knowing you just won your conference,” Baer said. “I just watch the scoreboard, work with my team, communicate and do my best.”
The Salisbury defense continued to show its strength holding York to only three goals on the afternoon. The unit held the Spartans to only 15 shots and didn’t allow any goals on six free position shots.
Freshman goalkeeper Gianna Falcone earned her thirteenth win of the season while recording eight saves in the championship game.
“I have to attribute it all to my team,” Falcone said. “I’m playing with some of the best players in D3 college lacrosse, and they make me better. Everything I do is for them.”
After playing in four of the last five NCAA championship games, the NCAA tournament is very familiar territory for the Sea Gulls. However, Nestor makes sure his players expect the unexpected.
“We’re looking at film, and looking at tendencies to see where we can take away strength from other teams,” Nestor said. “Every game is important, but we prepare physically and mentally, just a little more mentally when we’re on the field in pressure situations.”
The seniors for the Sea Gulls know this is their last chance to win it all, which is why they preparing, but also enjoying the time they have left.
“I just want to have fun, take it one game at a time, play with my team, and go all out. Hopefully we’ll get back (to the championship game),” Baer said.