BY DIAMOND HOLTON
The Salisbury University field hockey team advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference Championship with a 2-1 win over Christopher Newport University in the CAC Semifinals Wednesday evening at Sea Gull Stadium.
It was a good defensive battle between both teams as the first shot of the game did not come until 10 minutes in as Salisbury (13-3, 5-1 CAC) senior Jessica Crew retrieved the ball after a foul was committed by the Captains (13-4, 5-1 CAC). Her shot went wide left past the cage.
The second shot came off a penalty corner a few minutes later leading to the first score of the game. Junior Annah Brittingham crossed from the left post as senior Courtney Jantzen fired it home for the goal.
The Sea Gulls remained dominant through Christopher Newport’s tough defense with Crew scoring another goal for the Gulls, some much needed insurance. Junior Becca Rinaca carried it down the right side of the field crossing it in front as Crew finished it off giving Salisbury the 2-0 lead.
“Well usually I’m an inner, but I was out on the wing this time and the forwards practiced over and over to stay low,” Crew said. “So I knew the ball was going to be coming in from Becca and so I knew that I just needed to stay low and keep my eye on the ball and get it in there.”
Head coach Dawn Chamberlin said her team came out ready in the first half. She was proud of how hard they worked because this was a big game.
“I think we had a great first half and we dominated the game,” Chamberlin said. “Certainly second half we still dominated, but we had some moments there where we kind of lost our composure a little bit. I was real proud of the fact that they regrouped and held on for the win, so that was a good job.”
Sophomore Tressie Windsor kept her team in the game making three saves, four overall, in the first half. Her third was right before the half as Carol Thompson took a shot and Windsor was there ready and focused for the save.
Five minutes into the second half a foul was committed by the Sea Gulls awarding the Captains a penalty stroke. Alexa Weaver shot the ball up high into the left side of the cage putting her team on the board, 2-1.
Christopher Newport’s goalie Bailey Lien had five saves of the night playing a hard fought game making sure not to let Salisbury extend their lead. The Captains also recorded two defensive saves by Brittan Muir.
The Sea Gulls outshot the Captains 14-6 and came out strong with an 11-2 dominance in corners. Salisbury defense held CNU to just three shots a piece in the first and second half with their last and final shot happening 10 minutes before the period ended.
This was not the first meeting of the two as Salisbury defeated the Captains one week ago in double overtime. Chamberlin was just really happy to have a possible chance of competing in the NCAA Tournament.
“The team that wins the CAC Championship is the team that’s going to go and we probably won’t get anybody else out of our conference to go this year so there’s a lot on the line,” she said. “We’re just happy that we have the opportunity to win that and we’re going into it all out. Everything goes and everything stays on the field.”
Salisbury will play in the CAC Championship on Saturday against the University of Mary Washington on their home field. Their last meeting was on Oct. 24 where the Eagles had the advantage beating the Sea Gulls 2-1 off a late goal in the second half.
The time set for the championship game is to be announced.