SALISBURY, Md. - The 2008 Capital Athletic Conference women's lacrosse championship game turned into quite the record setting night for the top-seed Salisbury University Sea Gulls on Friday. The maroon and gold defeated second-seed St. Mary's (Md.) College 18-7 before a crowd of 500 at Sea Gull Stadium under the lights. The win is the 20th of the season for the top-ranked Sea Gulls (20-0) as they are one win shy of tying the school record.
Salisbury claims its sixth consecutive CAC title, eighth overall since 2000, and earns the automatic bid into this year's NCAA Division III tournament. The Sea Gulls are in line to host a NCAA regional where they will make their sixth straight appearance in the tournament, ninth overall since 1999.
Senior Sue Ackermann led all-scorers with five goals and three assists to pace the high-octane Sea Gull offense. Her eight-point game increased her season point total to 131 which ties the school record for points in a single-season. Ackermann currently holds the record with Christine Sliger (2001). Ackermann in her four years at SU has scored 160 goals, 140 assists for a perfect 300 points. She is now 15 points and seven assists shy of tying the career records here at SU.
For the second straight year, SU goalie Sonja Stuart turned in one of her best performances of her career in the CAC title game. Last season, Stuart made a career-high 13 saves against University of Mary Washington as SU won 14-11. A year later, the junior goalie matched her 13 saves against the Seahawks (13-5).
SU scored six of the first seven goals to begin the game as Ackermann scored half of the Gull total as they led 6-1 with eight minutes left. St. Mary's freshman Aileen McCausland stopped the SU 4-0 run with an unassisted goal before SU closed out the half with two more tallies to take an 8-2 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Seahawks came out strong and scored four of the next six goals. SU sophomore Kim Cudmore (four goals, one assist) scored a quick unassisted goal at the 26:20 mark but on the ensuing draw control SMC's Lauren Carrier won the draw and darted to the goal and scored 10 seconds later. Carrier entered the game as SMC's leading scorer (86 points) but was held to one goal the entire game. The Sea Gulls closed out the game by scoring eight of the final nine goals.
Salisbury senior Alexis Morrell, sophomore Beth Rhodey and freshman Logan Bilderback each scored two goals for the Sea Gulls in the win. Senior Jessica Liston (one goal), juniors Jessica Chielewski (one goal, two assists) and Courtney Sorensen (one goal) each recorded a goal for SU.
A highlight for the team was when senior All-American defender Kelly Phillips recorded her first-ever career point. The reigning Division III Defender of the Year fed Bilderback for the goal with 1:31 left in the game to give Phillips the assist.
Salisbury, who holds the longest winning streak in Division III (20 games), will next wait for the official 2008 NCAA Division III women's lacrosse tournament announcement which will take place on Sunday, May 4.