Sea Gull Stadium played host to Sunday’s top-10 women’s lacrosse matchup between No. 8 Washington and Lee University and No. 4 Salisbury University. The Generals picked up their first win in Sea Gull Stadium, defeating Salisbury 10-7.
The Sea Gulls' only game played coming into Sunday was a 14-2 win at Stevenson University on Feb. 15. Their original home opener was rescheduled, leaving the team with more time to prepare for the ranked matchup.
Senior attacker Gianna Demato thought the extended bye hurt the team, but the players left the game with several areas they know need improvement.
“It was a lot harder than we expected, but [this was] definitely the first hard game [of the season], and it showed us as a team the black-and-white and the positives and the negatives,” Demato said.
The Generals entered the contest coasting on the winds of a 22-4 win over Rhodes College on Wednesday.
The Sea Gull defense was tested early by the Generals, with Washington and Lee scoring early on just its second shot attempt of the game.
After Salisbury fell behind early in the contest, junior Lydia McNulty scored her third goal of the season to tie the game up. Junior attacker Alexis Strobel and freshman attacker Erin Scannell scored on a Demato assist and a free position shot, respectively, to give the maroon and gold a 3-1 lead.
Washington and Lee tied the game with back-to-back goals in less than a minute by first-year midfielder Christina Cavallo, who scored the first goal of the contest. The Generals retook the lead on an Allie Schwab goal with 6:08 left to go.
With just over a minute left in the half, Strobel assisted junior attacker Julie Talbert on a Salisbury goal. Cavallo scored with 22 seconds left to give the Generals a 5-4 halftime lead.
After falling behind 10-6 with four minutes to go, the Sea Gulls tried to manufacture a comeback, but the Generals allowed just one Salisbury goal. Washington and Lee outscored Salisbury 5-3 in the final half en route to the win.
Despite outshooting the Generals 25-20 and forcing 22 turnovers, the Sea Gulls fell at home to Washington and Lee for the first time. The Generals defeated Salisbury in back-to-back seasons after an overtime victory last season.
The Generals used their 14-5 edge in draw controls over the Sea Gulls to their advantage in Sunday’s victory.
In defeat, Strobel believes that the Sea Gulls can use this game to fuel their momentum as they head into the rest of their season.
“It’s an early game, and we can use this film to watch what we need to do on both ends of the field, offensively and defensively,” Strobel said. “[The loss] sucks, but we definitely can use it as a chip on our shoulders for the rest of our season.”
Five different Sea Gulls scored in the contest, with Demato being the only one to score more than once. Demato, who scored both goals in the second half, felt that she needed to step up and make a play to keep Salisbury in the game.
“As a senior, I think it’s my job to lead by example,” Demato said “When my team’s down, I feel that they set up the perfect feed or just the opportunity to place the ball where I need it to be to pick them all up and get a little momentum going.”
Strobel led the team with two assists, one shy of her total from the Sea Gulls' previous game. Coming off a season where she recorded 73 assists, Strobel has continued early-season success passing the ball due to communication with her teammates.
“It’s all about teamwork and communication,” Strobel said. “We have the cutters on the inside that are really smart and set picks for each other. We really harp on getting the ball low and feeding it in, and I’m the one that finds the cutters.”
Salisbury, now 1-1 on the year, hosts Rowan University (1-1) on Wednesday. Head coach Jim Nestor believes that the Sea Gulls can learn from this loss after looking at the game film and improving at practice as they prepare for the Profs.
“We need to learn from this [loss],” Nestor said. “[We need to] look at the film for the players to see what we could be doing better besides the basic skill things.”
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: Brad Boardman image.