SALEM, Va. – Salisbury University goalie Mary Claire Hisle caused a turnover with a little more than a minute left in the second half and the Sea Gulls were able to run out the clock to earn a 14-13 victory over Tufts in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship Game on Sunday night at Roanoke College.
Salisbury wins its fourth national championship and finishes the season undefeated at 19-0. The Jumbos, playing in the NCAA final for the first time, end the year with a 9-1 mark.
The Sea Gulls had taken a 14-10 lead with 6:24 remaining in the second half when junior Delaney Hill took a pass in front and twirled to beat her defender and score. It would be the last goal of the game for Salisbury.
Tufts, who never led in the game, stormed back to within a goal. Five consecutive wins on draw controls, including two by Caroline Walter, helped steam the Tufts comeback. Free-position goals by Emma Joyce at 5:54 and Sami Rothstein at 5:01 brought the Jumbos within 14-12.
After Walter grabbed the draw, Jumbo senior Catherine Lawliss drew a defender and then dished to an open Walter who scored with 4:04 on the clock making it 14-13.
Tufts' Joyce controlled the next draw and the Jumbos had a possession to tie the score, but a Emily Games free-position shot went off the post and Sea Gull Kate Lamberti chased down the ground ball.
After Salisbury cleared, the Jumbo defense forced a weak attempt by the Sea Gulls with the shot clock dwindling. Tufts took over with two minutes remaining, but in the Salisbury end a pass to the goal mouth was intercepted by Hisle with 1:12 remaining. Salisbury got the ball out of their end and called time out with 48 seconds left. After that they were able to play keep-away until the final horn sounded.
The Jumbos were resilient all game. Salisbury had dominated early, scoring the first four goals. Then Tufts' Colette Smith netted back-to-back tallies and Claire Wright added another that got the Jumbos into the game down 4-3 at the 11:41 mark of the first half. Goals by Lawliss at 2:56 and by Games with 16 seconds to go until halftime helped Tufts tie the score at 6-6 at intermission. Camryn Pepper had scored and assisted goals in the final nine minutes of the half for Salisbury.
Like in the first half, the Sea Gulls came out strong in the second half with three straight goals to lead 9-6 on a quick-stick shot by Lauren Valenti from Anna Robinson. Tufts answered with the next two, with Games scoring on laser into the top right corner and then finding Lawliss out front for a shot that went in off the left post for a 9-8 score.
Salisbury gained an advantage over the next 15 minutes by outscoring Tufts 5-2 during that stretch to build the 14-10 lead. Five different players scored the goals for the Sea Gulls, who then were just able to make the lead hold up for the national championship victory.
Julie Talbert, Riley Hartman, Hill, Valenti and Pepper all scored two goals for Salisbury. Hisle finished with four saves, three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Erin Scannell controlled three draws.
Salisbury finished with a 29-24 advantage in shots and won ground balls 15-3. Tufts took draw controls 18-11 and was four for eight on free-position shots.
Watch the Post-Game Press Conference With Head Coach Courtney Shute ...
Watch the Post-Game Press Conference With Senior Catherine Lawliss ...