LEXINGTON, Va. – Notching two late-game goals to get within one, the No. 8 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team came up short on its comeback to No. 14 Washington and Lee University, falling 9-8 on Saturday afternoon, giving the Generals their first victory against the Sea Gulls since 1993.
W&L (4-1), winning the opening draw, started the game off quickly, scoring its first goal in the first 22 seconds of the game. It wouldn't take long for the Sea Gulls (1-2) to answer though, seeing senior Kate Haker tally her first of three goals less than minute later. On the right side, Haker rolled tight along the crease shooting the ball high over Generals' goalkeeper Cara Mulligan's left shoulder to draw the score even 1-1.
Two free-position goals along with another finish pushed Washington and Lee out front by three over the next seven minutes before the Gulls struck again. Senior Kara O'Rourke, around the back side of the net, threaded a tight pass through two General defenders, finding Haker at the crease for the shot and finish. W&L answered with two more goals to separate the score to 6-2.
With 6:39 remaining in the first half, Salisbury started to find some offensive flow, scoring three goals to the Generals' one to trail by just two at the break, 7-5. Junior Megan Wallenhorst started the run with a top-shelf finish followed by a nice connection between Haker and O'Rourke. Haker, with the ball on the right side of the fan, found O'Rourke behind the defense at the left post of the goal for the quick reception and finish. Following a W&L goal, junior Katelin Talbert capped off the scoring for the half with a high finish.
The second half started in favor of the Sea Gulls, as Haker notched her first hat trick of the season. Earning a free-position attempt from the right side of the fan, the senior bolted in for a low-right finish to draw the deficit to one, 7-6.
For the next 19 minutes, the game only saw two goals, both of which were by the Generals to take a 9-6 advantage into the closing minutes of the game. But the Gulls wouldn't settle, winning the draw control with 3:56 remaining in the game to set up an opportunity for a comeback.
Wasting no time, Wallenhorst found sophomore Hannah Young slicing down the middle of the fan for a low finish making it a two-goal game with 3:14 left.
Sophomore Kacy Koolage pulled in the next draw control for the Gulls, giving them a chance to draw the game closer, which they would do. Wallenhorst again with the ball wide, found sophomore Gabbi Nieves cutting down the fan for the quick finish and a 9-8 score.
Although Salisbury didn't win the draw control on the restart, it would see one more chance in the final minute. A turnover by W&L's Sammy Yates and ground ball pickup by O'Rourke, with 27 seconds remaining, gave the Gulls an opportunity to tie the game and send it to overtime. A penalty inside eight meters would send Haker to the top of the fan for a free-position attempt. Crashing down the middle, the senior shot low, but a huge save by Mulligan would be enough to seal up the 9-8 victory for the Generals.
Haker finished with a game-high three goals and an assist for four points. Freshman Gianna Falcone played the second 30 minutes for the Gulls, recording three saves. The defense for Salisbury forced eight turnovers including two apiece by Nieves and sophomore Kieran Kelleher.
The Sea Gulls travel back home to prepare for their first Capital Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday, March 14, as Salisbury welcomes No. 13 York College of Pennsylvania to Sea Gull Stadium. First draw is set for 1 p.m.