BY RICKY POLLITT
It was a long day for the Roanoke Maroons.
Salisbury University’s women’s lacrosse team delivered a statement in the team’s first home game of 2016 with a 20-1 victory Tuesday night at Sea Gull Stadium.
It was the first time the team had played in front of their home crowd since losing to Hamilton University in the second round of the 2015 NCAA tournament.
“We’re going to go into every game looking at every team as a threat after last season,” junior attack Hannah Young said.
With 11 different players scoring for the Sea Gulls, Salisbury’s offense tore apart Roanoke’s defense while the SU defense didn’t allow a goal in the final 52 minutes of the game.
“We did a good job moving the ball. If we just do what we’re capable of doing and just keep the ball moving, having the smart cuts, the offense will open up eventually,” Sea Gulls head coach Jim Nestor said.
Leading the way was freshman attack Gabrielle Mongno who scored four goals for the Gulls, putting her season total at six.
Young, who was second on the team in goals scored last season, recorded her first hat trick of the season, with attacks Megan Wallenhorst and Kristen Murphy, and midfielders Gabbi Nieves and Ryan Schrader tallying two scores each.
Not only was the offense near perfect in the match, but the defense also caused 21 turnovers, scooped up 21 ground balls and only allowed four shots on goal to secure the win for SU.
“It was all a team effort,” junior defender Kacy Koolage said. “The second someone went to pressure the ball, someone was behind them to help. Everyone has each other’s backs and that’s what we focus on.”
The Maroons were able to find the back of the net eight minutes into the game when junior attack Catherine Pace went one-on-one with Salisbury goalkeeper Gianna Falcone and delivered a low shot to give Roanoke its only score of the day.
However, the Salisbury defense relied on one another to prevent another goal going in the rest of the game.
“Everyone’s putting out so much intensity, it’s making everyone else that much better,” Koolage said.
Outshooting Roanoke 31-4, while not allowing a single shot on goal in the second half, Salisbury turned to its offense early in the game to take the Maroons out sooner rather than later.
Salisbury recorded 14 first half goals to give Nestor and his staff a chance to observe several young players who have yet to record a lot of playing time in 2016.
Mongno and Schrader, playing in only their second collegiate game, took the opportunity to catch the attention of their coaches.
“Their young, they made some nice plays today, and hopefully we’ll be able to build upon them,” Nestor said.
The matchup was the first in a four-game home series Salisbury will have with their sites now set on Catholic who they will take on Feb. 27.
“We’re looking forward to a good year. We’ve really prepared this whole pre-season, and I think it’s going to be a great season,” Koolage said.