Women Gulls top Denison, advance to third round at home

The No. 2 Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team continued its march through the NCAA tournament, collecting a 16-4 win against Denison University on Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium in the tournament’s third round.

The Big Red (17-3) was able to find the back of the net first, with Claudia Rafi scoring on an unassisted marker less than four minutes in, but the Salisbury defense clamped down from there, not surrendering another score in the first half.

Emily McQuay put home the equalizer on a free-position goal six minutes later, beginning a 6-0 run through the remainder of the first half. It was Gabrielle Mongno, off a Krissy Murphy assist after taking a handoff and finding the top-left corner, who put home the go-ahead goal as Salisbury (20-1) made the first-half scoring a team effort. Six different Sea Gulls scored in the half, but Murphy had her hand in the most scores, putting home a goal and assisting on two others.

The final goal of the half came with just 25 seconds left as Mongno found a wide open Courtney Fegan in front of the net. Fegan faked out Denison goalkeeper Becca Jones and rolled in the shot for the 6-1 halftime edge.

Salisbury pushed its run to 8-0, scoring the first two goals of the second half with tallies from Dana King, who worked past her defender on the right side before going through Jones’ legs for the marker and Murphy put home her second goal of the day, less than a minute later, for the 8-1 lead with 27:31 showing on the clock.

Denison’s Kiely Noonan ended the Big Red’s scoreless drought just shy of 29 minutes, scoring an unassisted goal with 27:02 left in the game, followed quickly by Rafi’s second of the day, cutting the deficit to 8-3, but Denison would not score again until the closing seconds of the contest.

Salisbury’s defense was a menace for the Big Red all day, causing 12 turnovers as Denison finished with 22 turnovers in the game. McQuay, Taylor Poore, and Morgon Von Schmidt each caused a pair of turnovers in the game while King and Alexis Strobel each finished with a team-best three groundballs.

Senior goalkeeper Gianna Falcone turned away four Big Red offerings in her 51:29 in net to pick up her 18th win of the year, while Skye Graham played the final 8:31 in goal, making a pair of stops.

Salisbury scored eight-straight goals in the second half, from seven different goal scorers, while King put home two to finish off her hat trick. Mongno, McQuay, Murphy, and Emma Skoglund each scored twice.

With the win, the Sea Gulls advance to the regional final on Sunday against No. 11 Trinity (Conn.) College. The Bantams topped Rhodes College in Saturday’s other game, 20-11. The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to next week’s national championship weekend, playing in the semifinals on Saturday, May 26.

As your community newspaper, we are committed to making Salisbury a better place. You can help support our mission by making a voluntary contribution to the newspaper.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.