ASHLAND, Va. – The seventh-ranked Salisbury University women's lacrosse team will attempt to win its fourth national championship on Sunday afternoon, taking on third-ranked Middlebury College in the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament. The Sea Gulls and Panthers will face off on Sunday, May 26 at 2 p.m. at Day Field on the campus of Randolph-Macon College.
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How we got here
Salisbury (20-3) advanced to the national championship with a 14-11 victory over No. 4 Tufts University on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals. Sophomores Emma Skoglund and Alexis Strobel combined for 10 points as Skoglund tallied four goals and Strobel recorded five assists to go along with one goal.
How they got here
Middlebury (21-1) cruised to a 16-8 win over No. 8 Wesleyan (Conn.) University in the semifinals on Saturday. Senior Emma McDonagh recorded a game-high five goals to lead the Panthers to the championship game. Middlebury has outscored its four opponents 72-24 in the NCAA tournament.
Salisbury is 6-3 all time against the Panthers and 3-1 in the NCAA tournament, including three victories in the NCAA semifinals. At a neutral site, the Sea Gulls hold a 5-1 advantage in the series history. The two teams met earlier this season in Salisbury, Maryland, with Middlebury claiming an 11-6 win.
Scouting the Panthers
Middlebury comes in with one of the top defenses in the nation, allowing just 6.67 goals per game, which ranks 10th in Division III. Junior goalkeeper Julia Keith has a 19-1 record with a 49.7 save percentage and 6.39 goals-against average, which ranks her fifth in the nation. Offensively, the Panthers average 14.36 goals per game. McDonagh is tops on the team with 59 goals and 76 points.
Salisbury and Middlebury are two of the most storied programs in Division III women's lacrosse. Salisbury is appearing in its 20th tournament, having won three national championships. The Sea Gulls hold a 49-16 record in the NCAA tournament. Middlebury is making its 25th tournament appearance, having won six national championships. The Panthers are 64-18 all time in the NCAA tournament.
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 8-3 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.
Several Sea Gulls are making history and climbing the team's record books. Strobel has made her presence felt in just her second season in the maroon and gold, ranking eighth in program history in career assists with 95. Strobel is also tied for second in single-season assists in program history with 72 on the year. She is one point away from cracking the top 10 in program history in single-season points. Senior Lindsey Wagner joins Strobel on the career assists leaderboard, as she is in ninth with 89. Seniors Martha Hutzell and Ryan Schrader both appear in the top 10 in program history in career draw controls, with Hutzell at number three with 157 and Schrader at number eight with 121. With her two goals on Saturday, senior Gabby Mongno moved into a tie for ninth place in program history in career goals with 128. Junior Skye Graham also joined the record books on Saturday, moving into a tie for 10th place in single-season saves with 148.