SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 9 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team will host the University of Mary Washington on Saturday, April 25 for a Capital Athletic Conference semifinal matchup at Sea Gull Stadium. First draw is set for 12:30 p.m.
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How We Got Here
The Sea Gulls (12-3) went untouched in league play for the 13th-consecutive season, posting a perfect 8-0 record. As the lone undefeated squad in the CAC, Salisbury earned the top seed in the tournament along with a first-round bye and a chance to host throughout.
How They Got Here
The Eagles (10-7) concluded the regular season with a 4-4 record in the league, good enough for the No. 5 seed in the tournament. Traveling to No. 4-seed Christopher Newport University on Tuesday, April 21 for first-round play, Mary Washington made a late push in the final 12 minutes of regulation to overcome a three-goal deficit with four-unanswered finishes to take an 11-10 decision. With the upset, the Eagles advance to Saturday's semifinal game against the Sea Gulls.
Last Time We Met
The two squads took the field earlier this season on March 28 at Sea Gull Stadium for Salisbury's Pink Game. Paced by career days by senior Kara O'Rourke and junior Megan Wallenhorst, the Gulls cruised to a 16-3 victory. O'Rourke finished the day with six assists, while Wallenhorst found the back of the net six times.
At Sea Gull Stadium, Salisbury has only dropped four games to the Eagles dating back to 1987, while winning 21. In the overall series, the Gulls maintain a 31-9 edge, including a 20-game winning streak.
Great Wall Of Defense
The back third of the field has performed at a high level again this season, holding down the top spot in the league in scoring defense with a 5.71 goals-against average, good for fourth best in the country. In CAC play, the average dropped even lower, sporting a 3.13 GAA, only giving up 25 goals through eight games. Senior Anna Sparr and sophomore Kieran Kelleher have captained a backline that has caused 122 turnovers. Sparr leads the squad with 15, while Kelleher is just one behind her with 14.
Jersey No. 46
No. 46 was worn by three-time National Goalkeeper of the Year Ashton Wheatley the past four seasons, and a suitable replacement has garnered the number upon her graduation in freshman Gianna Falcone. Starting in 12 games this year, the Florham Park, New Jersey native holds a perfect 12-0 record while tending the net. Only giving up 53 goals through 14 games played in this year, the freshman maintains a 5.12 goals-against average, the best in the nation. Also holding a 60-percent save percentage, she ranks first in the conference and third in the country. In CAC play, Falcone has seen just 18 goals go in the back of the net while pumping her save percentage to 62.5 percent.
Finding The Open Teammate
O'Rourke has been a workhorse behind the back of the net, sending out 43 assists this season. The career high broke her junior season total by 22 at this point in the year, as she holds down the top spot in the conference, 19 more than the second-place assist leader. Her 43 helpers rank seventh in the country currently and eighth best in program history.
The winner will advance to the CAC championship on Saturday, May 2 against the winner of the other semifinal match between No. 2-seed York College of Pennsylvania and No. 3-seed St. Mary's College of Maryland. If Salisbury advances, the title game will be held at Sea Gull Stadium with the time to be announced.