SALISBURY, Md. – In a game that came down to the last three seconds, the No. 3 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team battled past No. 14 York College of Pennsylvania, 8-7, on Saturday to advance to its 14th-consecutive Capital Athletic Conference championship game.
With three seconds left on the clock, and Salisbury with an 8-7 lead, York (Pa.) had an opportunity to send the game into overtime. After a timeout, the Spartans' Allison Kolacy started with the ball just past the midfield line on the right side, and on the whistle, she launched the ball toward the Sea Gulls' net, but sophomore goalkeeper Gianna Falcone was able to pull down one of her five saves to end the game.
York (12-6), started off the game strong, scoring two goals in a row during the first two minutes and 30 seconds to take an early 2-0 advantage, with the scores coming from Melissa Meehling and Katelyn Cattrano.
At 24:03, Cattrano had a chance to score her second of the day on a one-on-one opportunity, but Falcone came through with a big save to keep the Spartans from building a 3-0 lead.
After successfully clearing the ball, the Sea Gulls went on the attack for the first time, and would put one into the back of the net at 23:25 to put the score at 2-1. Junior Gabbi Nieves juked a Spartan defender on the play and ran into the left side of the fan, finishing past York goalkeeper Rachel Donovan for the score.
The Spartans won the ensuing draw control, one of their 11 on the afternoon, and maintained possession for the next four minutes until Jordan Cassella found the back of the net off an assist from Meehling to put York up 3-1.
Kolacy put one into the cage at 15:46 to give the Spartans a 4-1 advantage, but after 14 minutes of back-and-forth play, the Sea Gulls closed the gap with under two minutes remaining in the first half.
After Salisbury forced a turnover, the Gulls cleared the ball and started attacking. Junior Hannah Young got fouled inside the fan with 1:55 left in the half and put her free-position shot into the back of the net to put the score at 4-2.
Salisbury (15-2) would score once more before halftime, as Nieves notched the draw control and sophomore Dana King put one past Donovan with just over a minute left after running from behind the net to make the score 4-3 going into halftime.
The Sea Gulls kept their momentum going early in the second half, scoring the first three goals of the period to go up 6-4.
Three minutes into the period, King found a cutting sophomore Emma Wall, who buried the goal to tie the game at 4-4, before sophomore Allie Hynson gave Salisbury its first lead of the contest at 23:05 when she spun past her defender and finished with a bouncing shot into the net.
Freshman Gabrielle Mongno capped the scoring on the three-goal run with 19 minutes remaining in regulation after taking a ball from Nieves and scoring to go up 6-4.
At 18:10 York got the game within one when Kolacy scored her second of the day, but Salisbury would retake a two goal lead with 16:41 remaining.
After causing a turnover and picking up the groundball in the Spartans' offensive zone, senior captain Samantha Duranti went coast to coast, showing the speed she has showcased all season in the midfield, and rocketed the ball into the back of the net to put the score at 7-5.
York responded with two-straight goals to knot the game at 7-7 with 12:20 left, but with 6:15 left in regulation, senior captain Megan Wallenhorst scored what would turn out to be the game-winning goal off an assist from sophomore Kristen Murphy, putting the score at 8-7.
The Spartans had chances to tie the game and send it into overtime, but Falcone recorded two big saves during the last 3:53, including the game-clinching save with two seconds left to give the Sea Gulls the victory.
Eight different Sea Gulls scored in the balanced offensive effort, while Hynson led the team with two groundballs and junior Kacy Koolage notched a team-high two draw controls.
Salisbury will now host St. Mary's College of Maryland in the CAC tournament championship on Saturday, April 30 at Sea Gull Stadium. The game time is still to be determined.