SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 1 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team remained unbeaten on the season and set a new program record for consecutive home victories claiming the program's 33-straight home win, dating back to the 2012 season opener, with a 9-7 win against No. 12 Colby College at a cold and windy Sea Gull Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Gulls set the mark against the same program which broke the previous long home winning streak at 32 games, as Colby won in Salisbury on March 24, 2009, in the two teams' only other meeting.
The victory was also Salisbury's sixth win against a ranked opponent this year.
The Mules (3-3) got the better of the chances in the early moments on Wednesday, with four shots in the first eight minutes of the game as Salisbury would gain just one extended offensive possession in that time. In Colby's opening chances senior goalkeeper Ashton Wheatley stood strong, making three saves including a free-position stop on Katharine Eddy and turning away Lindsey McKenna on a point-blank opportunity moments later.
Salisbury (9-0) got on the board just moments after Wheatley's third save when junior Bethany Baer ran across the front of the goal mouth with a Colby defender on her hip. Baer held off the defense and planted the shot in the top-right corner for a 1-0 Salisbury lead with 21:26 remaining in the first half.
Baer would double the Salisbury lead less than a minute later. After racing in from the left side, the Mules were called for a shooting-space foul, giving the Westminster, Md., native a free-position shot. She charged in and put the ball in the top-right corner again for the 2-0 lead.
Salisbury's lead stretched to three goals a few minutes later when senior Shannon Carta found junior Shelby Nemecek in front of Colby goalkeeper Michelle Burt. Nemecek received the pass and made a quick shot for the 3-0 lead with 18 minutes left in the half.
The Mules would battle back, scoring the next two goals to cut the lead to 3-2, but Salisbury would put three more on the board, beginning with Baer's third of the game, as she scooped up a loose ball just in front of the crease and sent it in over Burt.
The Gulls would add another unassisted goal by Carta and one from sophomore Samantha Duranti for a 6-2 lead before Colby would tack on the final goal of the half, McKenna's second of the day, but Salisbury held the 6-3 lead at the break.
Nemecek opened the scoring in the second half with a free-position goal just 51 seconds into the period and Carta added another free-position tally, a moment later, allowing the Gulls to grab an 8-3 lead.
The Mules chipped away at the Salisbury advantage over the next 23 minutes, scoring four times to cut the lead to one, with 5:26 left in the game, as Alex Mintz found Katie Griffin to make it 8-7.
Carta would get the Gulls the breathing room they needed in the closing minutes, garnering a free-position chance with just under four minutes left. The Annapolis, Md., native raced in toward goalkeeper Claire Dickson, who played the second half for the Mules, as the defense collapsed. Carta fired a shot low and toward the right side of the cage to give Salisbury the insurance goal, and after a Colby turnover with three minutes left, the Gulls ran out the clock for the win. Salisbury finished 4-for-5 on free-position shots in the game.
The tally was the final notch of a four-point day for Carta, who led all players with three goals and an assist, and Baer added her hat trick to go with a groundball and two caused turnovers to pace the Gulls.
McKenna scored three times for Colby while Eddy finished with two goals and an assist.
Wheatley made 10 saves in the contest, one shy of her season high, turning away six shots in the second half to seal her eighth win of the year.
The Sea Gulls hit the road for a pair of games this weekend, traveling to the University Mary Washington on Saturday, March 29 and St. Mary's College of Maryland on Sunday, March 30.