No. 1 Gulls battle past No. 19 Stevenson
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The last time the Salisbury University women's lacrosse team traveled to Owings Mills, in May of 2013, it left with the program's second national championship. Saturday's trip also ended in a big victory as the No. 1 Sea Gulls (2-0) battled out its second win of the season with an 8-6 victory over No. 19 Stevenson University. With the win, the Gulls extend their winning streak to 25 games.
In a hard fought match, the Mustangs would find the back of the net first in the fifth minute. The Gulls would follow up with their first tally less than five minutes later. After a foul drew the play dead in the middle of the fan, junior attacker Shelby Nemecek would capitalize on the free-position shot to pull the score even.
Stevenson (0-2) broke the tie score with two more goals to extend its biggest lead for the game, before senior attacker Shannon Carta ended the scoring run with an unassisted goal to get the Sea Gulls within one, 3-2.
Nemecek and Carta would hook up for one more goal before the end of the first half, with less than five minutes remaining. Carta, unbalanced, passed the ball to Nemecek from the left side of the fan, and with a quick release Nemecek finished on a high right shot past Stevenson goalkeeper Leanne Bittner.
Senior goalkeeper Ashton Wheatley came up big to start the second half on a free-position shot by Mustangs' Olivia Monteiro. On a low shot by Monteiro, Wheatley would scoop the ball and send the ball up field for the clear. The Sea Gulls first lead of the game would follow the impressive save as junior attacker Kate Haker found a cutting Nemecek. The goal capped off another great performance for Nemecek, posting her second-consecutive hat trick.
A minute and 30 seconds later Stevenson drew the score even once again, 4-4, with a free-position goal, and then grabbed a one-goal lead off an unassisted goal in the top of the cage with 23 minutes remaining in the game. It was the last time the Mustangs led the contest, as Salisbury posted two quick goals in a two-minute span. Carta and junior midfielder Bethany Baer capitalized on two free-position goals to give the Sea Gulls a 6-5 advantage.
Carta added her third of the game 51 seconds later. Senior attacker Katelyn Blondino passed the ball from the top of the fan to a cutting Carta for a low shot to give Salisbury its biggest lead of the game, 7-5.
The Mustangs would score one more time to get within one score of the Gulls, but Haker would put the finishing touch in with 2:55 left in the game on a curl around the backside of the net to move the score back to a two-goal spread.
Salisbury edged Stevenson in draw controls, 9-7, as Baer recorded a team-high three. The Gulls outshot the Mustangs, 21-15, with Nemecek and Baer taking five apiece.
Wheatley recorded the victory making seven saves through 60 minutes of play. The senior holds a 3.70 goals-against average through two games, only allowing seven for the season.
The women head back home for their next contest, as the Sea Gulls welcome Catholic University of America to Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday, March 1. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m.