SALEM, Va. – The No. 2 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team will travel to Roanoke College to take on No. 3 Gettysburg College in a semifinal showdown at Kerr Stadium. The Sea Gulls and Bullets will face off on Saturday, May 26 at 11:30 a.m. for the right to advance to the national championship game.
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How we got here
Salisbury (21-1) finished the regular season 16-1 before winning two games in the Capital Athletic Conference playoffs to capture its 16th straight conference title. The Sea Gulls then opened the NCAA tournament with a 19-11 second round victory over Meredith College before cruising to a 16-4 third round win against Denison University. Salisbury finished regionals with a thrilling 9-8 victory over No. 11 Trinity (Conn.) College, as Allie Hynson finished off a pass from Krissy Murphy with just 11 seconds remaining to advance the Sea Gulls to the semifinals.
How they got here
Gettysburg (19-2) entered postseason play with a 14-2 record before defeating No. 25 Washington College and No. 7 Franklin & Marshall College to earn the Centennial Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Bullets defeated their first two opponents in the NCAA tournament by a combined score of 35-9, including a win over No. 5 University of Mary Washington. Gettysburg advanced to the semifinals with a 13-10 victory against No. 6 Amherst College after erasing an early five-goal deficit.
The Bullets own a slight 5-4 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams. Gettysburg has bested the Sea Gulls the previous three meetings, including last year in the NCAA tournament. Salisbury won the three meetings prior to that, with the last win coming in the 2010 NCAA semifinals before winning the team's first national title.
The last time we met
Salisbury and Gettysburg met just over a year ago in the regional final, with the Bullets picking up a 10-2 win on the way to their second national championship. Senior Katie Landry led Gettysburg with four goals and one assist, while the Bullets held the Sea Gulls to just 11 shots in the game.
Scouting the Bullets
The defending national champions come in with one of the stingiest defenses in Division III. The Bullets allow just 5.52 goals per game, which ranks third in the nation. Junior goalkeeper Bailey Pilder ranks first in the country with a 61.1 save percentage and second with a 5.75 goals-against average. Fellow junior Steph Colson has scooped up a team-high 48 groundballs while ranking second on the team with 24 caused turnovers. Colson is also responsible for a team-best 122 draw controls. Gettysburg's offense ranks 25th in the country, averaging 15.48 goals per game. The Bullets have four players who have scored at least 40 goals, led by senior Katie Willis with 49. Colson is second on the team with 70 points on 48 goals and 22 assists, while Landry ranks first with 73 points on 21 goals and a team-high 52 assists.
Both teams have proven their worth throughout the season, facing some of the toughest schedules in Division III. Salisbury has played nine ranked opponents, going 8-1 in those games. Gettysburg has faced 13 top 25 teams, going 11-2 against the ranked opponents.
The Division III semifinals feature four of the great coaches in the game. On the left side of the bracket, Salisbury's Jim Nestor and Gettysburg's Carol Cantele face off. Both coaches are among the top 15 winningest active coaches across all three divisions. Nestor ranks sixth among active coaches with a .827 winning percentage, while Cantele ranks 13th with a .758 winning percentage. Cantele has the fourth most wins all-time in any division with 402 entering the season, while Nestor ranks seventh with 371.
Salisbury and Gettysburg meet in the NCAA lacrosse semifinals for the second weekend in a row. Last weekend, on Saturday, May 20, the Salisbury and Gettysburg men's lacrosse teams played in the NCAA semifinals, with the Sea Gulls defeating the Bullets, 8-7, in a closely-contested match.
The winner of Saturday's semifinal game will advance to the Division III national championship against the winner of the other semifinal game featuring No. 1 The College of New Jersey and No. 4 Middlebury College. The national championship game will be held at Kerr Stadium on Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m.