Women's lacrosse dances into NCAA semifinals, Cantele reaches 400 wins

UPDATE: Gettysburg College will face Trinity College in the second round semifinals on Saturday, May 27, at 3:00 p.m. at Roanoke College’s Kerr Stadium.

Seventh-ranked Gettysburg College executed its game plan to near perfection in shutting down ninth-ranked Salisbury University 10-2 and earning Head Coach Carol Cantele ’83 her 400th career victory in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship Sunday at Clark Field.

Gettysburg (19-3) is headed to the national semifinals for the sixth time in program history and will face No. 10 Trinity (Conn.) College (17-4) next Saturday, May 27, at Roanoke College. The other two semifinalists are top-ranked The College of New Jersey (18-1) and No. 2 Washington & Lee University (19-1). The Bullets clinched their first trip to the semifinals in six years.

“I can't even contain my excitement,” said goalie Shannon Keeler ’17, who finished with eight saves. “As seniors we've been so close for three years and to finally be able to do it is a dream come true.”

A day after holding unbeaten Rhodes College to a single goal, Gettysburg's defense limited Salisbury (16-6) to just 11 shots. The Sea Gulls did not find the back of the net until a goal by Dana King with 17:54 left in the second half. The Bullets have held their three NCAA opponents to a total of just eight goals.

“It's unbelievable the level of execution showed by this team today,” said Cantele, who became just the fourth women's lacrosse coach to reach 400 career victories. “To shut down and hold a team like Salisbury to only two goals is phenomenal. They did it with great footwork, great sliding packages, and a great connectivity with one another.”

Brooke Holechek ’19 scooped up three ground balls in the contest. Ali Gorab ’18 tallied two ground balls and a caused turnover.

Gettysburg stopped Salisbury on each of its first four possessions. Katelyn Neillands ’17 caused a turnover on the initial possession and Keeler added a save and a caused turnover, the latter of which led to the game's first goal by Emma Christie ’17 off a feed by Katie Landry ’18 with 18:38 to go in the first half.

Gettysburg wore down Salisbury's top-10 rated defense with a patient and calculating attack. Landry led the effort with four goals and the aforementioned assist, while Caroline Jaeger ’17 and Maggie McClain ’18 each posted two goals. McClain's first score gave the Bullets a 3-0 leading heading into halftime.

“We knew to move the ball fast and tire them out first before starting our attack,” said Landry. “To match their physicality we knew we had to play clean, but we also had to play tough. I think we executed that well today.”

With the defense holding firm and keeping the Sea Gulls at bay, the offense went to work in the final period. A day after pouring in four goals against Rhodes, Katie Willis ’18 scored a free-position goal less than five minutes into the stanza. Each of the team's first three goals of the second half came via free-position attempts with Jaeger making it 6-1 with 12:15 to play.

Salisbury pulled to 7-2 on a score by Allison Hynson with 8:57 remaining, but that would be the end of the offense for the Sea Gulls. After a save by Keeler, McClain scored off a feed from Steph Colson ’19 with 5:54 to go. Landry tallied the final two goals to close the victory.

“I think we all knew we were going to make it," said Landry. “We were all determined and it was our persistence that led to our victory today."

Gettysburg led in shots (19-11) and ground balls (17-11), while the teams split 14 draw controls.

Cantele joined a short list of coaches with 400 wins that includes TCNJ's Sharon Pfluger (493), Navy's Cindy Timchal (491), and former Middlebury College coach Missy Foote (422). Gettysburg is the only NCAA institution where both men's and women's lacrosse coaches have over 400 career wins. Men's coach Hank Janczyk has 434 victories.

“It was a great memory that will stay with me forever and I can't think of a more engaging and fun-loving group to share it with,” said Cantele. “But it's everybody's victory. I'm really honored to be holding it, but there are a lot of people that are a part of it as well.”

The semifinals and championship will take place on May 27-28 at Kerr Stadium on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Va. Gettysburg will face No. 10 Trinity (Conn.) College (17-4) in the second semi at 3:00. The Bullets last met the Bantams in the quarterfinals of the 2014 NCAA tournament, which ended with a 16-8 victory for Trinity. Saturday's semifinal winners will meet for the national title Sunday at 3:30.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Sun, 21 May 2017


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