SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 2-ranked Salisbury University field hockey team punched its ticket to the Capital Athletic Conference championship game on Wednesday evening, shutting out York College of Pennsylvania, 5-0.
It took the top-seed Sea Gulls (15-1) nearly 43 minutes to get on the board, but once they did, the scoring floodgates opened and propelled the squad to its ninth shutout of the season. Salisbury will look to earn the program's 20th overall – and fourth straight – CAC championship on Saturday.
York (13-6) played a solid first half. Despite being outshot 12-1 by Salisbury, the Spartans kept the game deadlocked at 0-0 through the 35 minutes of play. Early in the second half, a York ball found its way past junior goalkeeper Tressie Windsor, but the goal was called off after officials ruled it deflected off a Spartan player's body.
That scoring scare seemed to ignite the Sea Gull offense; just minutes later, Kristen Yingling ended the drought by firing a centering pass from senior Hannah Miller into the right-hand side of the cage, giving the Gulls a confidence boost and 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Salisbury struck again – and this time, it was Yingling with the centering pass to junior Natalie Wilkinson, who ripped a shot past York goalkeeper Eve Hauptle for the 2-0 edge. Seniors Becca Rinaca and Abbey Shobe, as well as freshman Tara Daddio, all added insurance tallies in the last 18 minutes of the game.
An excellent defensive effort kept the Spartans at bay and enabled Salisbury's offense to fire off 33 shots and earn 14 penalty corners. York, which entered the match ranked 21st in the nation averaging more than 10 penalty corners per game, got just one corner chance and attempted only three shots in the contest. Windsor finished the game with two saves.
The CAC championship game is set for Saturday, November 5 at 6 p.m. at Sea Gull Stadium, and it will be a "battle of the birds," as the third-seeded University of Mary Washington Eagles defeated second-seeded Christopher Newport University in overtime in the other CAC semifinal game to face the Sea Gulls for the title.