Updated: May 3, 2019
The Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team faced off against Christopher Newport University in the semifinals of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament. The Sea Gulls left Sea Gull Stadium with a 22-11 win and a shot at their 17th straight CAC championship.
The Captains (9-10) got off to a hot start as junior midfielder Sam Wettengel notched her first of two goals around three minutes into the contest. Her second would come later in the first half on a free position shot.
After allowing the early goal, Salisbury (16-2) found a rhythm of its own. The draw control unit recorded six straight wins to start the game, giving the Sea Gull offense the fuel to ignite a 3-0 run.
Senior attacker Courtney Fegan began the scoring for the home team, uncorking her 21st goal of the season. Fegan was a significant factor throughout the game, tallying six goals on seven shots in the contest and collecting five draw controls as well.
Fegan credited the cohesiveness of the team for her performance and feels there is a special air about the team this season.
“It starts with defense, midfield, everywhere,” Fegan said. “You go as hard as you can, all over the field … it’s about your team and whether you have that connection, and we have that this year, and it’s amazing.”
Fellow attacker Gianna Demato and midfielder Taylor Poore also scored during the stretch, which was halted by senior attacker Sarah Culver’s 57th goal of CNU’s 2019 campaign. This goal cut the Salisbury lead to 3-2. But it was quickly answered by a 4-0 run from the Gulls.
After another goal from Demato and attacker Lindsey Wagner’s first goal of the day, sophomore attacker Alexis Strobel found the back of the net. This was her first goal since the Sea Gulls‘
matchup with York College of Pennsylvania on April 17.
Strobel entered the game with 12 goals on the year. She scored three against the Captains and recorded five assists as well.
With 5:18 remaining in the first half, Strobel sent a pass inside from behind the cage that found senior attacker Gabby Mongno. Mongno’s shot just in front of the cage connected, as she tallied her 39th goal of the season and Strobel had just recorded the 100th point of her collegiate career.
Strobel acknowledged the significance of the milestone, but also noted that a large part of her individual success stems from playing on such a talented team.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Strobel said. “The players make it so easy. Their cuts are absolutely outstanding, and I just have to pass them the ball.”
The Gulls closed the first half on a 6-1 run, giving them the 13-6 edge at the break. Fegan and Mongno led Salisbury with three goals each, while Wettengel and Culver headlined the Captains’ offense with two apiece.
After trading goals over the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Gulls rattled off a 5-0 run to establish a 22-10 lead. The final goal of the contest was scored by senior midfielder Julia Golden, setting the final score of the contest.
Fegan and Strobel headlined the offensive efforts, recording six and eight points respectively. Culver notched five points and freshman attacker Zoe Dyer recorded three goals of her own to lead the way for the Captains.
The victory secured Salisbury’s position as host of the CAC Championship game on Saturday, in which York College of Pennsylvania will make the trip to Sea Gull Stadium. The game starts at 2 p.m.
Head coach Jim Nestor, currently in his 18th season with Salisbury, was pleased with his team’s performance and stressed the importance of their recent success heading into the championship game.
“I thought we played really well to give us that little cushion right off the bat,” Nestor said. “I think we came out strong. It’s always nice to get a win like this going into the championship.”
By NICK LEWIS
Featured photo: Women's lacrosse Sea Gulls celebrate after a goal scored April 20 (Emma Reider image).