ASHLAND, Va. – The No. 7 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team will travel to Randolph-Macon College to take on No. 4 Tufts University in the semifinals of the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament at Day Field. The Sea Gulls and Jumbos will face off on Saturday, May 25 at 2:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the national championship game.
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How we got here
Salisbury (19-3) finished the regular season 15-2 before falling in the Capital Athletic Conference championship to No. 6 York College of Pennsylvania. The Sea Gulls earned an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament and received a first-round bye. Salisbury opened tournament play with a 16-3 victory over Lebanon Valley College before cruising to an 18-8 third round win against No. 19 Colorado College. Salisbury finished regionals with a thrilling 8-7 victory over No. 12 Amherst College, as Emma Skoglund scored with just four seconds remaining to advance the Sea Gulls to the semifinals.
How they got here
Tufts University (19-2) entered postseason play with a 15-1 record before going on to fall to No. 3 Middlebury College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship. The Jumbos received an at-large bid and first-round bye before beginning the NCAA tournament by rolling past Plymouth State University, 18-0. Tufts then defeated No. 15 The College of New Jersey, 17-13, in the third round and advanced to the semifinals with an 11-6 win over No. 6 York (Pa.).
Salisbury and Tufts have never met, making this the first meeting between the two teams.
Scouting the Jumbos
The Jumbos come in with one of the best scoring margins in Division III, averaging 15.48 goals per game and allowing just 7.87 goals-against per game. Junior Emily Games leads the team with 77 points, recording a team-high 59 goals to go along with 18 assists. Senior Audrey Evers is 14-0 in the net, posting a 51.4 save percentage and 8.16 goals-against average. On defense, senior Hedy Veith leads the team with 21 caused turnovers and 38 groundballs.
Drawing up success
The key to success for Salisbury could lie in the draw control. The Sea Gulls are a perfect 11-0 this season when they have won more draw controls than their opponent, and 7-3 when their opponent has won more draw controls. In its three losses, Salisbury's opponents have won 46 draw controls compared to the Sea Gulls' 29.
The old and the new
The two teams have very different histories in the NCAA tournament. Salisbury is appearing in its 20th tournament, having won three national championships, while Tufts is appearing in just its fifth NCAA tournament and first-ever semifinal game. The Sea Gulls hold a 48-16 record in the NCAA tournament, while the Jumbos are 8-4 in tournament history, including their three wins this year.
At large and in charge
Of the four teams in the national semifinals, three entered the tournament with an at-large bid after having not won their conference championship. Middlebury is the only team to win its conference championship this season. The Panthers won the NESCAC championship, while Tufts and Wesleyan (Conn.) University both fell in the NESCAC tournament and Salisbury lost in the CAC championship. Just two years ago, Gettysburg College lost its conference championship but went on to win the national championship.
The winner of Saturday's semifinal game will advance to the Division III national championship against the winner of the other semifinal game featuring No. 3 Middlebury and No. 8 Wesleyan, which will be held at Day Field on Sunday, May 26 at 2 p.m.