CORTLAND, N.Y. – The No. 1 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team fell for the first time since May 20, 2012, as the No. 2 State University of New York at Cortland defeated the Sea Gulls, 12-8, from Stadium Red Field Sunday afternoon.
In a game of control, the Red Dragons (15-0) grabbed an early lead against Salisbury (16-1) and maintained possession afterwards to knock SU off a 39-game winning streak.
Cortland won 11 of the 12 draw controls in the first half, along with only turning the ball over four times to give the Red Dragons a majority of the offensive series. After Cortland won the opening draw, senior goalkeeper Ashton Wheatley made her first impressive save of the game off a shot by Taylor Reh just over two minutes into the contest. Pushing the ball the other way, junior Kate Haker got the scoring started up for the game taking on the defense from the right side of the crease and putting a high left shot past Cortland goalkeeper Liz Ingalls.
The lead would be short lived for the Sea Gulls, as Red Dragons' Erica Geremia would tack on two unassisted goals to start a four-goal run for Cortland. Junior Shelby Nemecek would add her first of four, which tied for the game high, with 16:25 remaining in the half to try and slow down the Red Dragon offense, but Cortland would answer back with five more goals to take a 9-2 lead into the break.
At the half, Cortland outshot the Sea Gulls, 16-3, while Salisbury turned the ball over just three times to the Red Dragons' four.
The Salisbury offense found more opportunities in the second half, scoring six times. After a Cortland goal, Nemecek would record her second of the game. Haker carried the ball around the low right side of the goal, quickly passing the ball to a diving Nemecek for the finish.
The Red Dragon offense added another less than five minutes later before Haker sparked a three-goal run for the Sea Gulls to get Salisbury back into the game. The junior carried the ball down the right side of the fan, and with quick feet, rolled back towards the goal firing a low shot.
Nemecek followed with her two final goals of the game, both while catching a pass from behind the goal by senior Shannon Carta in the process of diving down the middle of the fan.
Cortland would halt the Sea Gull run with its final goal of the game to move the score to 12-6 with 7:06 remaining in the game. Haker and junior Bethany Baer added goals in the closing minutes, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
For the game, Salisbury took 12 shots, all on goal, while Cortland took 22 attempts, with 16 on target. Winning seven of the 10 draw controls in the second half, SU edged the Red Dragons in groundballs, 13-12, through 60 minutes of play.
The defense, led by junior Laura Maskell, forced 12 Red Dragon turnovers, causing 10 of them. Maskell caused three turnovers, while Wheatley forced a game-high four.
Haker and Nemecek led the offense with three and four goals, respectively. Haker added two assists for a team-high five points.
Wheatley recorded the loss in the cage, making four saves through the entirety of the game. It is the senior's second loss of her career; the other in the 2012 national championship game to Trinity (Conn.) College.
With the regular season coming to a close, the women look to the Capital Athletic Conference tournament set to begin this week. With an undefeated 7-0 record in the conference, the Sea Gulls claim the top seed in the tournament and a first-round bye. Salisbury will await the winner of the first-round game between No. 4-seeded St. Mary's College of Maryland and No. 5-seed Christopher Newport University. The semifinal match will take place at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday, April 26, with the time to be announced.