GETTYSBURG, Pa. – It was just last year that the Salisbury University women's lacrosse team hoisted the national trophy after toppling Trinity (Conn.) College, 12-5, to be named the NCAA Division III champion. Now, the Sea Gulls are back at championship weekend for the third-consecutive year looking to defend the title and bring back a third national championship to the Eastern Shore. To get to the final game, the No. 2 Gulls will have to advance past No. 5 Amherst College in the semifinals on Saturday, May 24, at 4 p.m.
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How We Got Here
After going undefeated in the regular season of the Capital Athletic Conference for the 12th-consecutive year, Salisbury downed York College of Pennsylvania for the third-straight year in the conference title game, 13-6. The 14th championship for the Sea Gulls earned them the automatic bid into the NCAA Division III women's lacrosse tournament. As one of two top-seeded teams in the tournament, Salisbury received a first-round bye. In the second round, the Sea Gulls defeated Farmingdale State College, 18-7, to advance to the regional semifinals. Hosting the regional tournament, Salisbury downed unbeaten Augustana (Ill.) College, 16-3, before punching a ticket to the final four with an 11-6 victory over the Diplomats of Franklin & Marshall College in the regional final.
How They Got Here
Recording just their second loss of the season to Trinity in the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship, the Lord Jeffs received an at-large bid into the national tournament with a 16-2 record. Earning a first-round bye, Amherst blew through the second round, downing Bridgewater State University, 20-4, before toppling York in the regional semifinals, 12-3. In the regional finals, the Lord Jeffs upset No. 4 The College of New Jersey to advance to its sixth national semifinal in program history.
Saturday's contest will mark the fourth meeting between the two programs, as the Lord Jeffs hold a 2-1 advantage in the series. Amherst won the first two meetings at Sea Gull Stadium, but Salisbury came out on top in the last game, in 2007, when the Gulls defeated the Lord Jeffs, 11-4, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Blazing Through a Tough Schedule
Head Coach Jim Nestor is known for lining up a tough schedule for his team on a yearly basis to prepare it for a tough postseason, this year was no different. The Sea Gulls were pushed to their limits, playing in 10 ranked matchups through 22 games. With almost half the schedule against a top-20 opponent, two of them were against teams in the final four this season, the State University of New York at Cortland and Trinity, in which Salisbury split. Defeating the Bantams, 11-8, early in the season in Clermont, Fla., the Gulls recorded their only loss for the year to the Red Dragons on East Sunday, 12-8, at Stadium Red Field.
The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the national championship on Sunday, May 25, against the winner of the other semifinal matchup between Cortland and Trinity. First draw is set for 2:30 p.m., on Clark Field.