SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University women's soccer team hosted St. Mary's College of Maryland at the SU Soccer Complex Wednesday afternoon. Junior goalkeeper Hope Knussman collected eight saves in the contest but it wouldn't be enough as the Sea Gulls fell 2-0 to the visting Seahawks.
Salisbury set the tone early with a strong offensive showing as junior midfielder Jamie Tacka gathered a poor defensive clear and fired a shot on frame. However, St. Mary's goalkeeper Sydney Larkin was able to get her hands on the ball to keep the score level just minutes into the match.
Not more than a minute later Knussman would get her first save of the contest when she smothered a curling shot from Gabby Encarnacion from just outside the box.
The next 24 minutes would see a physical end to end play from both squads as they fought to maintain possession in the midfield. A few minutes later Knussman would again come up big for the Sea Gulls as she charged an on rushing Gillian Sawyer and was able to parry the ball just past the post to keep the score tied 0-0.
With time winding down in the half the Sea Gulls' defensive unit would be tested once again. Sawyer played an accurate through ball that met Seahawk midfielder Jenna Pastel in stride who struck a shot on goal but an outstretched Knussman would deny the Seahawks again for her third save of the contest.
Salisbury's defensive wall played a commanding 42 minutes of soccer, but an awry defensive pass left Jenna Pastel in enough space on the corner of the 18 to get a shot off that curled into the near upper 90 to give St. Mary's the 1-0 goal cushion heading into the break.
At the end of 45, the Seahawks outshot the Sea Gulls 9-6 with each team earning three corners a piece. Knussman collected an impressive five saves in the half with Larkin posting four saves for the Seahawks.
The second half began with the same intensity as the first with St. Mary's looking to test Knussman even further when Encarcion got an open look on frame but once again an outstretched Knussman blocked the shot. However, the ball ricocheted into the path of Sawyer, who managed a return volley on frame but Knussman's reacted quickly kicking up and stifling the second attempt for her seventh save of the match.
The following 20 minutes of play saw the same physical back and forth play action in the first half as both sides battled to gain a foothold in the midfield.
Despite both sides getting good looks on goal, St. Mary's would capitalize for their second goal and seal the victory. Emily Huey found herself in space and fired a shot across the face of goal that found its way underneath an extended Knussman to make the score final at 2-0.
St. Mary's outshot the Sea Gulls 17-12 and earned four corners to Salisbury's three. Knussman finished with a season high of eight saves, one save shy of her career best of nine. Larking would earn four saves for the Seahawks.
The Sea Gulls return to action next Wednesday, October 8th, as they travel north to take on PSU-Harrisburg. That match is scheduled for 12 p.m.