Trinity Edges Salisbury For Division III Title
By Steve Jones
The Salisbury University women's lacrosse team had dominated its Division III opponents all season. The nation's top-ranked team entered the national championship undefeated and had won 13 of its 22 games by double-digit margins.
But the explosive Sea Gull offense couldn't solve the tight Trinity defense May 20, as the Bantams came away with an 8-7 victory during the NCAA Division III national championship game at Montclair State's Sprague Field. Trinity finished with a 21-1 record that included eight consecutive season-ending victories. Coach Jim Nestor's Salisbury squad closed with a 22-1 mark.
Freshman attacker Bethany Baer (Westminster High) led the Sea Gulls with three goals, but the Bantam defense held Salisbury to its lowest goal total of the season. The Sea Gulls' previous low was nine, during a Capital Athletic Conference semifinal against Stevenson.
Salisbury won its most recent NCAA championship in 2010, and was expected to take home the hardware this spring. The Sea Gulls rolled to another Capital Athletic Conference championship, then beat St. John Fisher, Catholic University and Middlebury to reach the national final. But the Bantams from Hartford, Conn., jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the first half, forcing Salisbury into the unusual situation of playing from behind.
The Sea Gulls scored five unanswered goals to take a 5-4 lead early during the second half. But Trinity scored four in a row to go up 8-5. Salisbury, which hadn't trailed so late during any of its 22 wins, cut the deficit to 8-7 on a goal by Lauren Feusahrens with three minutes remaining. But Trinity, which beat SUNY-Cortland, 7-5, during a Saturday semifinal, held on to win its first national championship.
Salisbury advanced to the championship game with Saturday's 15-7 semifinal win against Middlebury. Feusahrens led all scorers with five goals and three assists, and Allie Wheatley contributed five goals and one feed for the Sea Gulls, who held a slim 6-5 halftime advantage, but pulled away during the second half.
The NCAA women's lacrosse tournaments continue Memorial Day weekend with the Division I semifinals. Third-seeded Maryland locked up its fourth consecutive Final Four trip with a 17-11 victory against Loyola May 19 and will face Northwestern May 25 at Stony Brook University.
Maryland, which improved to 19-3, will carry an eight-game winning streak into its national semifinal. Loyola, the sixth seed and an NCAA quarterfinalist for the second straight year, finished at 14-6.
Posted May 20, 2012