SALISBURY, Md. – The Mammoths impressive 2019 season came to an end Sunday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium, as a Sea Gulls score with four seconds remaining in regulation lifted No. 7 Salisbury University past the No. 12 Amherst College women's lacrosse team, 8-7 in NCAA Championship Quarterfinal play.
With the loss, Amherst closes out the 2019 season with a 14-6 overall ledger, while Salisbury improves to 19-3 on the year and advances to play No. 4 Tufts in a Final Four bout.
Getting out to a strong start, the Mammoths opened the contest with three unanswered goals in the first 10 minutes of action as Claire Dunbar '21 kicked off scoring with a woman-down goal at the 24:10 mark off a dish from Hannah Gustafson '21 on a set free positon play.
Doubling Amherst's edge with 22:53 on the clock, Hannah Fox '20 picked up a loose ball in front of the net and sent a shot into the top corner, stick side, before Dunbar potted her second of the game off a feed from Maia Noyes '21 34 seconds later.
Undeterred, Salisbury countered in kind with Julie Talbert, Courtney Fegan and Taylor Poore each finding nylon in a six-minute span to notch things at three all.
Closing the first half with back-to-back goals from Isabelle Sennett '21 to take a 5-3 lead at intermission, Dunbar found Sennett behind her defender for the score at the 10:15 mark, before Katherine Malone '20 faked the shot and connected with Sennett for the catch-and-shoot score with 7:31 on the clock.
Deadlocking the game at 5-5, Gianna Demato and Alexis Strobel hit netting at the 26:11 and 21:07 marks, respectively, before Noyes cut across the zone and buried a shot into the bottom left corner to put Amherst back out in front with 17:47 to go.
Responding with two scores, Poore capitalized on back-to-back free position shots to give the Sea Gulls their first lead of the matchup, 7-6, with 4:05 remaining.
Coming through in the clutch for Amherst, Noyes tied the score at 7-7 less than a minute later as she vacated her position behind the net, stopped short out in front and powered a feed from Fox into the top left corner to set up a thriller down the stretch.
After time outs by both sides in the final two minutes, it was Emma Skoglund who played hero for the Sea Gulls as she tossed a shot over the sticks of two defenders and just under the bar with four seconds to play to seal the 8-7 Quarterfinal victory for Salisbury.
BY THE NUMBERS
- In between the pipes, Talia Land '20 (14-6) recorded seven saves for Amherst in the losing effort, while Skye Graham (19-3) made seven stops for Salisbury in the win.
- Sennett, Dunbar and Noyes each had two goals to lead the Mammoths' offense, while Land's four ground balls were a game-high. Gustafson led all players with eight draw controls, while Kelly Siebert '20, Gustafson and Kat Krieg '20 each caused two turnovers.
- The Mammoths owned the edge in draw controls (13-4) and finished 0-for-3 on free position attempts, while Salisbury held the advantage in shots (19-18) and ground balls (15-9) and finished 4-for-5 on free position opportunities.