CLERMONT, Fla. – A rematch of the previous two national championship games proved successful Tuesday morning for the No. 1 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team, as the Sea Gulls battled out a victory against No. 6 Trinity (Conn.) College, 11-8, at the National Training Center.
SU (6-0) came out with a strong first half, putting up seven goals and only allowing two by the Bantams (4-2).
Junior attacker Shelby Nemecek got the Sea Gulls on the board first, three minutes into play, off a pass by sophomore attacker Megan Wallenhorst, but Trinity would answer back less than two minutes later to draw the score even the only time for the entirety of the game. Salisbury halted the Bantams with five-consecutive goals to open up the game in a 10-minute span.
Nemecek added two goals in the run, both assisted by senior attacker Shannon Carta, as she recorded her fifth hat trick of the season. She now has a team-high 16 goals for the season.
Junior midfielder Bethany Baer found classmate Kate Haker to hook up for the third goal for the Sea Gulls with 16:25 remaining in the first half, followed by a goal by Carta a minute and 30 seconds later off a pass by Nemecek to give Salisbury a 4-1 lead.
Baer added her contribution to the five goals in the SU run off a free-position shot. Trinity added its second goal of the half shortly after, before junior Kara O'Rourke would find Baer to cap off an impressive first half, 7-2.
For the half, Salisbury dominated draw controls, winning seven of the 10. The Sea Gulls outshot the Bantams, 10-5, while Trinity held the edge on groundballs, 10-7.
The Bantams gained the momentum entering the second half, putting away the first goal two minutes in, but Carta would answer back with her second of the game to keep the Sea Gulls with their five-goal margin, 8-3.
Trinity went on to score the five of the six goals, with Baer finding the back of the net after two-consecutive Bantam goals. With Trinity within one of the Sea Gulls, 9-8, in the final 6:55, Haker and O'Rourke put the finishing touches on the victory. Haker added goal number 10 with 4:01 remaining, followed by O'Rourke with an unassisted tally with 2:20 on the clock.
Nemecek and Baer led the Sea Gull offense, recording a hat trick and an assist for a game-high four points apiece.
Salisbury proved superior in draw controls, winning 15 of the 21, as Baer and junior Laura Maskell tallied six each. With the six wins, Baer moves up to eighth on the program's record list with 92 for her career.
The Sea Gulls went a perfect 9-for-9 on clear attempts, while the Bantams went 10-for-11.
Senior goalkeeper Ashton Wheatley recorded the victory in the net, making four saves. The four turn aways gives her 326 for her career, moving the senior into the top five in program history. The Cambridge, Md., native is 6-0 for the season, holding a 6.11 goals-against average.
The women travel back home for back-to-back matches. Kicking it off on Saturday, March 22, is a matchup against Southern Virginia University; first draw is set for 1 p.m. Following that, on Sunday, is the team's annual Pink Game against No. 4 Franklin & Marshall College, as SU looks to raise money for "Lax for a Cure" to help the fight against breast cancer. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m.