SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 3 Salisbury University women's soccer team hosted sixth-seeded Penn State University-Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon in a Capital Athletics Conference first-round matchup. The Sea Gulls' three goals on the day, combined with another strong defensive effort, helped secure the victory and sent the team on to the semifinals.
Salisbury (10-9-0) took the momentum early, controlling the ball, and making pinpoint passes. The offensive push kept the Lions (11-8-0) on their heels, limiting their opportunities to move the ball.
Forward Ruthie Lucas netted the game winner in the 19th minute to put the maroon and gold up early. Lucas received a pass up front from teammate Dana Gordon before splitting the Lion defense and putting a nice touch on a ball that rolled slowly inside the right side of the net.
A shot by Penn State-Harrisburg's Erica Hile in the 33rd minute almost tied the game. Hile, finding an open field in front of her, squared up with goalkeeper Hope Knussman before delivering her shot, but the ball carried a little too high, ricocheting off the crossbar and back onto the field, where it was cleared by the Salisbury defense.
The Sea Gulls doubled their lead before halftime on a goal by forward Brooke Rossiter in the 36th minute. This time, it was defender Jamie Tacka and forward Ellen Anderson who combined to provide a rare double-assist, with Tacka sending a pass forward to Anderson, who then headed the ball out to Rossiter. Rossiter then dribbled the ball back in and sent her shot past Lion goalkeeper Kayla Arnold for the 2-0 lead.
Salisbury led Penn State-Harrisburg at the half in shots, 7-5. Both teams were tied in corners, fouls, and saves, with two, five, and two, respectively.
The game shifted towards a heavier dose of Lion offense in the second half, with each side adjusting their strategies to match the score.
Penn State-Harrisburg made one attempt after another, trying hard to cut into its deficit, but each time, Tacka, Knussman, and Rachel Anderson were right there to neutralize their opponents.
The Sea Gulls would top off their successful afternoon with another tally in the 85th minute. Midfielder Juliana Looney found herself in the right place at the right time, as she got her foot on a rebound off Arnold that found the back of the net.
With the victory, Salisbury will move on to a conference semifinal matchup on the road against No. 2 Frostburg State University on Wednesday, November 1. Kickoff for the match is TBA.