SALEM, Va. - For the third time in six seasons the Salisbury University women's lacrosse team will try and win the program's first-ever NCAA Division III national championship. The top-ranked Sea Gulls scored two late goals against No. 7 Gettysburg College to win 11-10 in the national semifinals Saturday evening at Donald J. Kerr Stadium at Roanoke College.
Salisbury (20-1) trailed 10-9 with less than eight minutes left in the game before senior Ashleigh Gender (two goals, one assist) knotted the game with a goal off an assist from sophomore Meagan Osipowich (one goal, four assists). Gender's goal with 6:30 left tied the game for the fourth time in the second half.
Gettysburg (16-4) won the draw control but the Salisbury senior defender Sarah McKinley caused the turnover and got the ground ball as the Sea Gulls went on the attack. SU coach Jim Nestor called a timeout to draw up a play. Out of the timeout SU drew a Gettysburg foul and received a free position attempt. After a few passes senior midfielder Robyn Bishop (three goals, two assists) scored her fifth game-winning goal of the season off an assist from Trish DiGirolomo with three minutes left in the game.
Two years ago it was Bishop who scored an overtime free position goal in the national semifinals against Middlebury College to send SU to the national final against Franklin & Marshall College.
Gettysburg had a final shot attempt in the waning seconds as Hannah Church (one goal) weaved through the SU defense but her shot went off the pipe as the game came to a close. Last year, in the national semifinals the Sea Gulls lost by the same 11-10 score to eventual champion Hamilton College. In the closing seconds against the Continentals the Sea Gulls had a final shot just miss the Hamilton goal.
Salisbury advances to face No. 2 Franklin & Marshall College (20-1) in the national championship game on Sunday, May 17, at 3 p.m. The game will air live on CBS College Sports, formally known as CSTV. Please check your local listings to see if you have the CBS College Sports channel.
The Diplomats dethroned Hamilton 16-13 in the other national semifinal on Saturday night. F&M won the 2007 national title with an 11-8 victory over the Sea Gulls.
Since that loss to the Diplomats the Sea Gulls have won two straight over F&M during the 2008 and '09 regular-seasons.
Junior attacker Beth Rhodey led all Sea Gull scorers with four goals, three in the first half, as SU trailed 5-4 at the intermission.
Senior goalie Sonja Stuart (six saves) improved her season record to 19-1 as she made three saves in each half for the maroon and gold.
Gettysburg was paced by Lexie Hearn (three goals, one assist) and Hollis Stahl (three goals). Bullet goalie Kristen Krammer made nine saves, seven in the first half, in the loss. The Bullets were outstanding on free position goals as GC scored 6-of-7, three in each half.
Salisbury outshot Gettysburg 26-23 and scooped up 12 ground balls and converted 13-of-15 clear attempts. SU's defense caused nine of Gettysburg's 14 turnovers.
2009 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship