SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 1 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team is one step closer to its goal of a national championship following a 15-4 win over No. 20 St. John Fisher College in the NCAA Division III women's lacrosse regional semifinal on Saturday. With the win, the Sea Gulls advance to the regional final against the winner of the Catholic University of America and the University of Redlands.
Junior Katie Bollhorst led the Salisbury (20-0) attack with a game-high five points, netting two goals and handing out three assists.
St. John Fisher (15-5) controlled the early portion of the contest, not allowing the Sea Gull offense to get on track. Melissa Leonhard put the Cardinals on the board just 50 seconds into the game, putting Salisbury in an early hole.
"We had a slow start, but got things moving after the first 15 minutes and were able to capitalize on our opportunities," Head Coach Jim Nestor said. "We have to make better decisions and not rush it … We know we can score, it's just being smart, being patient and taking good looks."
St. John Fisher had possession for much of the first 12 minutes of the game but was only able to tack on one additional goal, also by Leonhard, for a 2-0 lead before Salisbury was able to settle into its offense.
It wasn't until the 18:00 mark that the Sea Gulls were able to set up their offensive set, and five minutes after that they got on the scoreboard. Bollhorst netted a free-position shot with 12:59 remaining in the first half to cut the Cardinal lead in half. The 17:01 off the clock is the longest it has taken Salisbury to get on the board since March 25 against Franklin & Marshall College, when the Sea Gulls didn't score until 7:53 remaining in the first half.
Senior Amanda Holsclaw knotted the score at two apiece just 21 seconds later. It was the last time in the game the score would be tied, as Salisbury went on a 7-0 run starting with Bollhorst's first goal of the game. During the run, Bollhorst netted two goals, as did junior Lauren Feusahrens. Seniors Allie Wheatley and Carrie Bray also added goals, giving the Sea Gulls a 7-2 edge at the half.
Despite the slow start, the Sea Gulls outshot St. John Fisher 16-8 in the first half, and 29-15 for the contest.
The Cardinals started the second half the same as the first frame, scoring 1:09 into the half to bring the score to 7-3, the first of two goals by Taylor Hughes in the second half. Salisbury was able to even out the time of possession in the second half and brought the lead back to five as Holsclaw netted her second goal of the contest to make it 8-3 Salisbury.
Holsclaw's goal at 27:44 started a 6-0 spurt to put the game out of reach, with sophomore Shannon Carta scoring with 8:04 remaining in the contest to give the Sea Gulls a 13-3 lead.
After Hughes' second goal made the score 13-4, Salisbury scored two goals late in the contest to finish the game at 15-4.
The top-ranked Salisbury University defense lowered its goals against average, holding the Cardinal attack in check. Sophomore goalie Ashton Wheatley stopped five Cardinal shots to remain undefeated in her collegiate career. The stifling Sea Gull defense forced St. John Fisher to commit 15 turnovers in the contest and was a perfect 14-for-14 on clearing attempts.
Salisbury will next be in action tomorrow, Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m., at Sea Gull Stadium as the Sea Gulls will play in the regional final.