GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Aileen McCausland scored with 5:26 left in the second half to give Salisbury University its first lead, and the Sea Gulls held on for a 7-6 win against Hamilton College in the 2010 NCAA Division III women's lacrosse championship game at Gettysburg College's Clark Field on May 23.
The NCAA women's lacrosse title is the first for Salisbury (21-1 overall) in its 11th tournament appearance. The Sea Gulls, who have been runners-up three times, reached the final with a 20-12 win against host Gettysburg in the semifinals on May 22. Salisbury's offense was averaging more than 17 goals per game, but its defense starred against Hamilton in the national championship.
The Continentals (21-1) were vying for their first undefeated season. Hamilton was the last undefeated team in NCAA lacrosse across both genders and all three divisions. The Continentals tied a program record with the 21 wins this season. Hamilton also finished 21-1 in 2008 when they captured the College's only NCAA team title. The Continentals reached their second NCAA final with a 12-7 victory against Franklin & Marshall College on Saturday.
McCausland was named the most valuable player of these championships. Logan Bilderback scored two goals for the Sea Gulls. Jessica Chmielewski chipped in one goal, two assists and two ground balls. Beth Rhodey was credited with assists on the last two Salisbury goals. Kristen Chandler won three draw controls and Sarah McKinley added two caused turnovers and two draw controls. Julie Ann Caulfield made eight saves.
Kate Fowler '10 single-handedly kept Hamilton in the contest as she tied a career high with 14 saves. Fowler also stopped 14 shots in the 2009 NCAA regional final against Middlebury College at Colby College -- a 13-9 win for the Continentals.
Liz Rave '10 scored three goals, picked up two ground balls and caused two turnovers for Hamilton. Rave finished her career in fourth place on the team's all-time list with 140 goals, and led the team with 46 this year. Sarah Bray '11 finished with a game-high three ground balls and added two draw controls and two caused turnovers. Rave, Bray and Fowler all made the all-tournament team.
The two best teams in Division III provided a wild ending for the 1,118 fans in attendance. After McCausland's goal, Hamilton's Rachel Friedman '13 won the draw, but the Continentals turned the ball over with 5:01 remaining. The Sea Gulls cleared and held the ball for more than four minutes. During that time, Hamilton's Friedman and Lauren Sokol '12 had to leave the game for three minutes each with yellow cards.
Salisbury finally made a mistake with less than a minute to play and the Continentals called timeout with possession with 53 seconds left. Hamilton reached its offensive zone with about 30 seconds remaining, but the Sea Gulls' defense stood tall.
The Continentals finally got a pair of shots off with less than 10 seconds to go. The first shot by Hannah Hoar '13 was blocked and picked up by Rave, who took a shot that was deflected wide by Caulfield. Somehow, Rave picked up the loose ball behind the goal and lofted a pass in front to Libby Schultz '12, who fired the ball past Caulfield in one motion. However, the shot was ruled to have come after time had expired, and the goal was disallowed.
Hamilton got off to a fast start as Graveley scored a free-position goal and Rave tallied twice for a 3-0 lead with 18:52 left in the first half. Sarah Bray's younger sister Carrie put Salisbury on the scoreboard with a free-position goal with 17:59 remaining. Kate Otley '12 restored the three-goal cushion with 11:17 left, but the Sea Gulls rallied to tie with a 3-0 run. Kim Cudmore knotted the score at 4-4 just 60 seconds into the second half.
Schultz put the Continentals back on top 87 seconds later, only to have Bilderback tie the score again with 23:38 remaining. Rave answered with another free-position goal for a 6-5 lead with 22:17 left. Allie Wheatley tied the score for a third and final time with 17:42 remaining.
Salisbury held the advantage in shots (31-26), ground balls (16-12) and draw controls (8-7). Hamilton had 14 turnovers while the Sea Gulls committed just eight.