Salisbury set to host Franklin & Marshall in regional finals matchup

Salisbury set to host Franklin & Marshall in regional finals matchup

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 3 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team will host sixth-ranked Franklin & Marshall College in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament in a regional final game on Sunday, May 22 at Sea Gull Stadium. The first draw is set for 1 p.m.

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How we got here

After earning a first-round bye and defeating Cabrini College in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Salisbury hosted Colorado College in a regional semifinal matchup and earned a 17-7 victory. Sophomore Allie Hynson led Salisbury offensively on the day with a career-high five points on three goals and two assists, while sophomore Gianna Falcone came up with eight saves in goal.

How they got here

Franklin & Marshall earned a first-round bye and took down the University of Mount Union in the second round before traveling to Salisbury, Maryland to take on No. 13 the College at Brockport in a regional semifinal match. Grace Saliba had a dominant performance for the Diplomats, tallying a game-high seven points on five goals and two assists for the day.

Series history

Salisbury has a long history against Franklin & Marshall, and has an overall record of 14-4 against the Diplomats. The Sea Gulls and the Diplomats met earlier this season on March 23, and Salisbury defeated Franklin & Marshall in a 12-10 thriller at Sea Gull Stadium. This will be the two teams' sixth meeting in the NCAA tournament, as the Sea Gulls have a 3-2 record against the Diplomats in the playoffs. The last time the two teams met in the NCAA tournament was on May 18, 2014 in the regional semifinals; Salisbury came up with an 11-6 victory. 

Scouting the Diplomats

The Diplomats have a potent offense, scoring just over 14 goals per game, which is ranked 19th in the country. Franklin & Marshall has the two top goal scorers in the Centennial Conference, with Paige Moriarty scoring a team-high 77 goals and Saliba tallying 53 scores on the year. Saliba also has the most assists on the team and in the conference, notching 45 on the season.  The Diplomats have also been strong defensively, notching a 5.96 team goals-against average, which is ninth in the nation. Danielle Harrington has garnered 102 saves on the season with a 6.22 goals-against average to lead Franklin & Marshall in front of the net. Samantha Blicht and Stephanie Speese each have 34 groundballs to lead the squad, while Vanessa Budd has a team-high 37 caused turnovers.

Turning it on in the tournament

The Sea Gulls have quite an impressive resume in the NCAA tournament throughout the program's illustrious history. Salisbury has won three national championships (2010, '13, '14), seven national finalist appearances (2005, '07, '09, '10, '12, '13, '14), and 17 overall NCAA tournament appearances (1999-2001, '03-'16).

Getting ranked

Salisbury is ranked highly in the nation in several different team categories. The Gulls sport the No. 3 scoring defense in the country, allowing just 5.15 goals a game. Salisbury also has the 10th-ranked scoring margin in the nation with a 7.53 mark, while boasting a .900 winning percentage, which ranks in the top five in the country.

Coming on in the second

SU has outscored its opponents 256-103 in the 2016 season, but the biggest difference has come in the second half. The Sea Gulls have scored 112 goals in the final 30 minutes, while allowing just 46 goals from opponents this season.

What's next?

The winner of today's game will move on to the NCAA tournament championship weekend to compete in a national semifinals match in Philadelphia.

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