Gulls hold on for 11-9 victory in top-20 clash

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 1 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team battled out an 11-9 victory Saturday afternoon against No. 19 Washington and Lee University at Sea Gull Stadium, as the Gulls remain undefeated and extend their winning streak to 27.

The first half showed plenty of excitement as both teams combined for 14 goals, as Salisbury (4-0) took a 9-5 lead into halftime.

Junior attacker Kate Haker kicked things off for the Sea Gulls less than four minutes in, curling around the right-side post for a high, unassisted shot past Generals' goalkeeper Cara Mulligan. Three minutes later, W&L found the back of the net for its first goal, tying the game at 1-1.

Less than two minutes after the restart during a Washington and Lee (4-2) clear attempt, junior attacker Shelby Nemecek picked off a pass between the Generals. With empty field in front of her, the Marriottsville, Md., native bolted down the field for a quick unassisted goal and the lead.

The Generals answered back with three goals and the largest lead for W&L of the game, but Nemecek would end the run with another unassisted goal with 14:20 remaining in the first half. Sophomore midfielder Samantha Duranti drew the score even two minutes later with a free-position goal.

Washington and Lee would score one more time in the half and take the lead, but Salisbury added five goals to close out the remaining eight minutes to take a four-goal lead into the half. Nemecek started the five-goal run off a backside pass from senior attacker Shannon Carta, while Haker added two and juniors Kylie Hanley and Bethany Baer chipped in for one apiece.

The Generals started the second-half scoring off a free-position shot by Greta Witter. SU returned with two more quick goals, both within a minute of each other. Duranti capitalized on her second free-position goal of the game, while senior Katelyn Blondino contributed to the scoring 50 seconds later off a pass from Hanley on the left side of the field.

W&L made a late run, scoring three-consecutive goals, but the Sea Gulls would shut down the Generals in the final eight minutes to hold on to the victory.

Nemecek and Haker paced the Sea Gull offense, both recording hat tricks. Nemecek leads the team with 12 goals this season, scoring three times in each game this season.

Salisbury picked up two more groundballs than W&L, taking the 11-9 advantage, but the Generals grabbed the edge in draw controls, 13-9.

Washington and Lee outshot SU, 18-15, but senior goalkeeper Ashton Wheatley recorded the victory with seven saves through 60 minutes of play. Mulligan made one save for the game.

The women open up conference play next Saturday, March 15, as the Sea Gulls travel to No. 9 York College of Pennsylvania. The game is set to begin at 12 p.m., at Kinsley Field.

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