Sticks flew high in the air and the crowd roared at Lion’s Stadium as the College’s women’s lacrosse team pulled off its biggest victory of the season taking down top-ranked Salisbury University 16-12. The Lions beat the Sea Gulls for the first time since 2006 thanks to a strong second half effort and the stick of junior midfielder Ali Jaeger.
Jaeger, who notched her 200th career point in the match, scored five goals and added two assists to help the Lions take down the Sea Gulls, who came into the match ranked as the top team in Division III.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Jaeger said. “We’ve never beaten Salisbury before. I’ve never felt this feeling before. We can actually say that we just beat the number one team in the country. I’m just excited how everyone came together, how everyone rallied after a four-goal deficit and how we really made it happen.”
The match was by no means a breeze as the Sea Gulls came into the match with five victories on the season over ranked opponents. The Sea Gulls strong play was evident in the first half when they shut out the Lions for over 14 minutes and took a 9-5 lead late in the first half.
“We had a tough first half defensively,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said. “We weren’t adjusting as well as we should have and I think Salisbury took full advantage of that.”
The second half did not start out well either as the Lions were trailing 10-7 with 28:32 left in the match, but as they settled down the Lions started to take complete control.
The Lions would go on an eight-goal run that lasted over 27 minutes to hand the Sea Gulls their first loss of the season.
“I thought we played more confidently in the second half,” said Pfluger. “(At the half) we had the proper amount of time to correct (the defense) and I think attacking wise we took advantage of our opportunities. We had to work hard for those opportunities because Salisbury’s strong, but we shot smart and we saw the spaces we needed to get into shooting range.”
Sophomore midfielder Leigh Mitchell played a crucial role in the match as she stole back the momentum for the Lions by scoring back-to-back goals twice during the match. Her two most important goals started the Lions eight-goal run in the second half and helped bring the fans back into the game.
“I think we just knew what we needed to do,” Mitchell said. “Once they started getting some momentum we knew we had to get some quick goals in, so we just worked it around and really looked to aim our shots correctly.”
Senior attacker Lisa Seldeen contributed to the victory with four goals, while sophomore midfielder Kathleen Notos added two goals of her own.
“(Salisbury) is always a great game,” Pfluger said. “I think we feel pretty good about ourselves right now.”
The Lions saw no drop off in their next match as they defeated Ramapo University 20-5 to improve their record to 10-0.
Jaeger led all Lions with five goals, which put her over the 50-goal mark for a second-straight season.
Junior goalkeeper Mary Waller was strong in the net with 10 saves against the Roadrunners to record her 10th win of the season.
The Lions will look to continue their winning streak at Lion’s Stadium vs. Rowan University on Thursday April 15.