LACROSSE: Sea Gulls end Lions’ undefeated streak

The lacrosse team’s celebration as the newly crowned No. 2 seed was short-lived after a heartbreaking 11-10 overtime loss to No. 1 Salisbury University snapped the Lions’ win streak and handed the team its first loss of the season.

Before the loss, the Lions held a 9-0 record on the season and a 17-game home winning streak dating back to 2006.

The Lions struck first as senior midfielder Toni-Anne Cavallo netted a goal on a free-position shot. However, the teams’ lead was taken away by back-to-back goals by the Sea Gulls.

“Salisbury has some very strong players and they had a very patient attack,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said.

The Lions regained the lead after senior midfielder Karen Doane and sophomore attack Angela Wilmer each scored a goal. Within the next four minutes of play, the Sea Gulls snuck three goals past the pads of senior goalkeeper Caitlin Gregory to make the score 5-3 and take their biggest lead yet.

After two successful free-position shots, the Lions tied the score at 5. In the last five minutes of the half, both teams scrambled to get a shot on goal before going into halftime deadlocked at 6.

The Lions struck first again in the second half as freshman attack Alison Jaeger netted her first goal of the game 43 seconds into the half. Doane, the Lions’ leading scorer, found the back of the net minutes later, coming up with her 39th goal of the season.

The two teams traded goals back and forth until the final 10 minutes of the game when the Sea Gulls led the Lions 10-9. As minutes continued to tick off the clock, the Sea Gulls struggled to keep control of the ball away from the Lions.

Finally, with just more than two minutes left in regulation, freshman midfielder Leigh Mitchell forced the two teams into overtime, netting an unassisted goal to tie the score at 10.

“One of the best things we did was to get the ball back when Salisbury was stalling at the end of regulation,” Pfluger said. “I was proud of the girls for . tying the game.”

Possession of the ball changed hands frequently throughout the six-minute overtime period but it was the Sea Gulls’ leading scorer, senior attack Sue Ackermann, who netted the sole overtime goal with 3:11 remaining.

In the final minute of the game, it looked like the two teams were headed for another overtime period when the Lions’ offense gained control of the ball in Sea Gulls’ territory. However, the Sea Gulls were able to force a turnover to end the game and ruin the Lions’ perfect season.

The win added to Salisbury’s perfect record of 16-0 while the Lions fell to 9-1. Gregory made eight saves.

“I believe we played well, yet I am positive we are capable of playing much better in such a highly competitive game,” Pfluger said. “It was great to have a game like this one and I know we will learn from it and become an even better team.”

Earlier in the week, the Lions achieved their ninth win in a victory against the Dolphins of Mount Saint Vincent College by a score of 17-2. The Lions scored the first six goals of the game in the first five minutes before leading the Dolphins 12-2 at the half.

In the second half, the Lions’ defense shut out the Dolphins while the offense tacked on five goals to the score. Doane led the team once again with four goals and two assists.

The Lions head out on the road again tomorrow in a game against Cabrini College at 6:30 p.m.