The Salisbury University’s women’s lacrosse game on Tuesday evening took a few minutes longer to begin than usual.
The pregame events for Salisbury included more than just starting lineups and the national anthem: those in attendance were given a chance to pay respects to a former Sea Gull.
Jack Ferguson would have been a senior on the SU men’s basketball team this season. Last summer, Ferguson was diagnosed with Histiocytic Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
His battle with the disease ended on March 10. Fans took part in a moment of silence to honor Ferguson’s memory.
Following this brief pregame ceremony, the Sea Gulls (5-1) notched their highest-scoring effort of the season as they soared past Meredith College, 16-7.
The Avenging Angels (6-2) came into Salisbury following a loss to No. 17 The Catholic University of America. They have dominated their conference this season, averaging 20.75 goals per game and allowing less than a goal per game in USA South play.
The two teams traded goals in the first 16 minutes of the contest, tying the score at 3-3. Senior midfielder Holly Hite had a strong showing for the Avenging Angels early in the game, as she tallied two goals in the first eight minutes of the game. Junior midfielder Olivia Higgs tallied Meredith’s third early goal.
For the Sea Gulls, it was Courtney Fegan who put her team on the scoreboard less than two minutes into the game. Taylor Poore and Gabby Mongno also tallied goals in the opening 16 minutes.
Salisbury would control the final 14 minutes of the first half, scoring six unanswered goals to stretch its lead to 9-3 at the break. Poore, Fegan and Mongno all scored their second goal of the evening in the run, while Holly Bowers, Lindsey Wagner and Gianna Demato all tallied their first.
Star sophomore attacker Emma Skoglund could have stretched the lead even further for the Sea Gulls, but just did not have luck on her side in the first half. She executed three strong cuts to the crease and had three great looks on goal – and all three hit the pipe.
“It’s frustrating, but at the same time I think it’s just funny,” Skoglund said. “Honestly, I feel bad for the people that fed me the ball, because they expect when that ball goes in to go in the back of the net and to hit the pipe and be so close but so far, it’s just funny looking back on it.”
“She worked hard to get those shots, and it was just kind of unlucky,” head coach Jim Nestor said. “Hitting that crossbar, the nice thing about that is hopefully we can get the ball back. But she works hard, she knows what she needs to do, and was just unlucky at times.”
Skoglund came out of the break firing offensively, scoring two of the three goals for Salisbury in the first five minutes of the second half. Both goals were assisted by Alexis Strobel, who had four total assists in the game. Wagner notched her second goal of the contest in the opening five minutes of the half as well.
Hite would continue to stand out for the Avenging Angels, scoring three of the four goals Meredith recorded in the second half. Hite finished the game with five goals, three ground balls and ten draw controls.
But this would not be enough to overcome the strong offensive performance from the Sea Gulls as well as the stifling defense they played in the second half. A well-known face on that back line for Salisbury is senior defender Martha Hutzell.
“I’m super confident with our defense,” Hutzell said. “We have some of the strongest forces, if not the most strong force in Division III lacrosse.”
This strong back line for Salisbury held the Avenging Angels to just four second-half goals, while the Sea Gull offense tallied seven to ensure the victory.
“It was nice that we did get some things done early that allowed us to go a little bit deeper on the bench,” Nestor said. “It felt good when we were going to that depth, that they got the job done also and they didn’t really lose anything.”
The Sea Gulls will wrap up their three-game home stand on Friday as they face off against Plymouth State University at 1:30 p.m.
By NICK LEWIS
Featured photo: Women's lacrosse celebrating their win (Emma Reider images).