NCAA Quarterfinal: Salisbury 9, Trinity 8

NCAA Quarterfinal: Salisbury 9, Trinity 8

Courtesy of Trinity Sports Information

SALISBURY, Md. – After falling behind, 5-0, in the first half, The Trinity College women's lacrosse team rallied back to tie the Salisbury University Sea Gulls, 8-8, late in the game, but ultimately fell in the game's final seconds in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse National Championship Quarterfinals at Sea Gull Stadium on the campus of Salisbury University. Trinity, playing in its ninth consecutive NCAA Quarterfinal game, ends the year with a 13-7 record having fallen short of the national semifinals for the first time in seven years. Salisbury improves to 21-1 and advances to next weekend's Final Four in Salem, Va.

Dana King struck first for the Sea Gulls, scoring less than two minutes into the game after winning the opening draw. Ally Hynson won the ensuing draw to give possession back to Salisbury, but a strong defensive stand by the Bantams ended in a Sea Gull turnover that switched the field.

Salisbury's defense managed to keep the Bantams off the scoreboard on the following possession before adding to its lead at the 23:21 mark. The Sea Gulls worked the ball around the offensive zone, taking the shot clock down to under ten seconds, before Elaine Drape found a crease and fired a shot into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead. Another Salisbury goal, this one by Alissa Talbert on a free-position attempt at the 21:34 mark, prompted a Bantam timeout, down 3-0.

After two more goals by the Sea Gulls to make it a 5-0 game, Trinity ended the run with a free-position goal by senior tri-captain Allie Barrett with 16:59 left to go in the first half. Barrett cut the deficit to 5-2 when she weaved her way through Salisbury's defensive zone and fired a point-blank shot past Sea Gull goalie Gianna Falcone with just over ten minutes showing on the scoreboard.

Salisbury got one back when King fed Hynson from behind the net, who fired a shot past Trinity senior tri-captain goalie Zoe Ferguson to give the hosts a 6-2 advantage. With 3:23 left before halftime, Trinity nearly cut it back to three but a free-position shot by senior Jennifer Cook ricocheted off the post, allowing Salisbury to collect the loose ball and avert danger. The Bantams kept the pressure up however, scoring with 1:07 to go, to make it a 6-3 game. Senior Kiley Coffey controlled the ball near the top of Salisbury's defensive zone and fed a cutting Mary French who rifled a shot past Falcone for the goal. Trinity had one final chance before the first half horn but Salisbury's defense held strong and kept it a three goal lead at the intermission.

Trinity's defense stepped up early in the second half, forcing Salisbury to use almost all of the shot clock on its first possession before forcing a shot that was saved by Ferguson. The Bantams converted on the clear which led to a goal by Cook on the other end of the field to chip away at the Sea Gull lead, making it a 6-4 game with 23:15 left to play. Salisbury regained a three goal lead just 33 seconds later when Taylor Poore sliced through Trinity's defense and beat Ferguson to the back of the net. The Bantams had an answer however, as Barrett scored her third goal of the day after being set up by a great pass from rookie Sophie Berger to pull Trinity back within two.

With 19:39 left to go, Coffey blew a shot past Falcone as the Bantams found themselves down just one at 7-6.  Neither team scored for the next ten minutes as both Ferguson and Falcone held strong between the pipes, making multiple saves apiece to keep it a one goal game as the clock ticked under ten minutes. Ferguson, who finished with 13 saves after a near heroic second half effort, made saves on three straight Sea Gull offensive possessions which set up Barrett's fourth goal of the day that tied things at 7-7. Barrett was awarded a free-position attempt after being knocked down near the net which she made good on to tie the game with 9:30 left to play.

King tallied her second score of the day two minutes later to put Salisbury back ahead, 8-7. The Sea Gulls nearly jumped ahead by two just moments later, but Ferguson once again came up clutch and turned aside a free-position shot by Gabrielle Mongno.

Trailing by one, Trinity senior Abby McInerney battled her way through the Sea Gull defense and bounced a shot past Falcone, narrowly avoiding the crease-line, to knot things at 8-8 with just 4:05 left to play in regulation. Hynson won the following draw for Salisbury which preceded a Sea Gull timeout to set up their offense. Out of the timeout, Trinity's defense, led by senior tri-captain Clara Nowlan, junior Jen Durocher and sophomores Morgan Strabley and Sarah Montalbano, came up huge, forcing an errant Salisbury shot that went out of bounds and turned the ball over to Trinity.

The Bantams were unable to convert on the offensive end as Salisbury's defense likewise did its job and gave the ball back to the hosts with under a minute left, setting up the game-winning goal. After a timeout, Hynson played the hero for the home team, receiving a pass from Krissy Murphy and sending a shot towards net that deflected a Trinity defender's stick and trickled over the goal line to give Salisbury the lead with just 11 seconds left. McInerney won the game's final draw, but time proved to be on Salisbury's side as the clock struck zero before the Bantams were able to get the possible game-tying shot on net.