SALISBURY, Md. – In the final regular-season game on its home turf, the No. 6 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team fell to No. 14 The College of New Jersey, 10-3, Sunday afternoon, snapping a 48-game winning streak in Sea Gull Stadium.
The 48-game stretch ranks second in Division III history for women's lacrosse, behind the State University of New York at Cortland who currently maintains a 62-game winning streak on Stadium Red Field.
Through the first 30 minutes, the game was controlled primarily by the Lions. Scoring five goals in the first half, TCNJ (10-2) gained momentum which translated to the defensive end. The back line for the Lions held the Gulls to just three shots in the first half, all of which were either saved or went just wide of the cage. Seeing TCNJ carry a 5-0 lead into the break, it is just the third time in program history that Salisbury has been held scoreless through the first 30 minutes of play, second time this season. In the opening game of the 2015 campaign, Stevenson University carried a 7-0 lead into the break.
The Sea Gulls (11-3) kicked things off in the second half, trying to gain the momentum early. Senior Kara O'Rourke, with the ball behind the goal, sent a pass over the top to junior Katelin Talbert who was wide open in front of the crease. Receiving the ball high, Talbert sent it into the right side of the net past Lions' goalkeeper Kelly Schlupp.
Looking to continue the run, the defensive third for Salisbury had to slow down a quick Lions offense. TCNJ's Cortney Natalicchio found a lane toward the cage and fired a shot high, but freshman goalkeeper Gianna Falcone turned away the attempt. Although the great defensive play kept TCNJ off the board, retrieving the ball gave the Lions another chance which would find the back of the net. The goal ignited another three-goal run to extend the advantage to 8-1.
With 18:15 remaining in regulation, the Gulls needed an answer for the Lions. A foul drew the play dead inside the eight-meter fan rewarding Salisbury with a free-position attempt. Junior Samantha Duranti, set up on the left side, cut into the middle on the restart and sent the ball into the right side for the Sea Gulls' second goal of the game.
Falcone came up with another save following Duranti's goal, but TCNJ answered on a free-position finish of its own several minutes later.
On the restart, Duranti scooped up the draw control, giving Salisbury an offensive opportunity. Less than a minute later, O'Rourke connected with senior Kate Haker for the Gulls' final goal of the game. O'Rourke, behind the goal again, found classmate Haker just inside the left side of the fan. Haker caught the ball and wound up from six-meters out to place it into the right side of the cage.
The defense locked in for the next 10 minutes, seeing freshmen Kristen Murphy and Allie Hynson combine for three caused turnovers, but Salisbury was unable to produce on the other end of the field. TCNJ sealed up the 10-3 victory with one more goal at the 1:45 mark.
The women get back into Capital Athletic Conference play for their final regular-season game, as they travel to Arlington, Virginia for a matchup against Marymount (Va.) University on Wednesday, April 15. First draw is set for 4 p.m.