BY MARK DAVIS
The No. 5 Salisbury Sea Gulls women’s lacrosse team claimed a 12-10 victory over the No.2 Franklin & Marshall Diplomats Wednesday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium.
The Sea Gulls (8-1) found themselves down 2-0 early in the game until sophomore attack Emma Wall found the back of the net, scoring her seventh goal of the season. The Diplomats answered right back holding a 3-1 lead halfway through the first half.
Another goal from Wall after a Diplomat turnover, and a score from junior midfielder Gabbi Nieves tied the game up and gave Salisbury some momentum.
The Diplomats (6-1) answered back, but Salisbury continued to fight on offense, not allowing Franklin and Marshall to pull away.
As the game went on, the physicality and tension began to stir between the two teams. Foul after foul finally led to a free position shot for sophomore attacker Dana King.
King assisted junior attacker Hannah Young who was able to get a shot past Diplomats’ goalie Katlin Hardt giving Salisbury its first lead of the game.
The Sea Gulls scored again following Young’s goal, with a score from freshman attack Lindsey Wagner. With 48 seconds remaining in the half, the Diplomats scored again only allowing the Sea Gulls a one-point lead to start the second half.
Senior midfielder Samantha Duranti found herself in foul trouble before the second half getting a yellow card with only ten seconds left.
“There was a lot of tension, it’s always like that when we play Franklin & Marshall, but it was expected; we practiced how to get out of it,” Duranti said.
Salisbury committed nine fouls in the first half, while Franklin & Marshall had 11.
Franklin & Marshall came out scoring early in the second half with three straight goals. Salisbury didn’t have an answer for them until sophomore midfielder Allie Hynson scored from a free position shot.
Following Hynson’s goal, Wall recorded her fourth goal of the day with an assist from Duranti.
“It was such a great team effort, I couldn’t ask for anymore from my teammates,” Wall said.
Young retook the lead for Salisbury with another successful free position shot. The Gulls capitalized on three-of-nine FPS.
The game continued to go back-and-forth, with the Diplomats tying the game at nine with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game, but Wall’s fifth goal gave Salisbury the final lead they needed and helped them secure the victory.
Nieves and senior attack Megan Wallenhorst also added two more goals to give the Gulls the two-goal advantage.
Fouls were a big part of the matchup with a total of 45 committed; 18 from Salisbury and 27 from Franklin & Marshall.
The shots were there for the Diplomats, who outshot Salisbury 25-19, but the play from the SU defense and sophomore goalie Gianna Falcone was too much for the Franklin & Marshall offense to handle.
“I thought the defense did a great job today, we stayed on our cutters, we took their stick away, we had great one on one and our transition, our mid-field was absolutely amazing,” Falcone said. “They slowed the ball down, and we really stopped their fast break opportunities.”
As a battle between the two of the top five teams, Sea Gulls’ head coach Jim Nestor had his offense focused, knowing they would have a tough task against the Diplomats’ defense.
“They’re a very strong defensive and physical team, so we tried to prepare our offense to be smarter so we could deal with it,” Nestor said.
Riding a four-game win streak, the women’s lacrosse team will begin a six-game conference stretch, taking on Mary Washington on Saturday at 1 p.m.