Hamilton eliminated from NCAA playoffs with 7-5 loss to Salisbury

Hamilton eliminated from NCAA playoffs with 7-5 loss to Salisbury

The Hamilton College women's lacrosse season ended Sunday afternoon in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship as the visiting Salisbury Sea Gulls rallied for a 7-5 win at Hamilton's Steuben Field. The Continentals, ranked 12th nationally, finish the season 12-6. The ninth-ranked Sea Gulls advance to next weekend's third round. They'll face Ithaca College at a site to be determined.

Hamilton held a 5-1 lead 7:17 into the second period after breaking a 1-1 halftime tie with four goals in a span of 3:44. The visiting Sea Gulls responded with five straight goals in just over 11 minutes, then added an insurance goal in the final minute.

Salisbury (15-5), who advanced to Sunday's second round by rolling to a 19-2 win over Regis College, outshot the hosts 9-1 over the final 22:43. 

Kristen Murphy, who finished with a game-high four points, had a hand in four straight Salisbury goals. After feeding Lindsay Wagner at the 16:12 mark for the Sea Gulls' third goal, she set up a pair of goals in a 23-second span that pulled Salisbury even with 11:29 to go. Gabbi Nieves netted her 32nd goal of the season, assisted by Murphy, 18:08 into the second as Salisbury closed to within a goal. Dana King won the draw and sent the ball to Murphy, whose pass to Wagner was turned into the tying score.

After Nieves' control of the ensuing draw to give the Sea Gulls the chance to take the lead, Hamilton's Hannah Burrall '19 made one of her eight saves to give the Continentals possession. Kieran Kelleher forced a Hamilton turnover by knocking down a pass and Morgan Lenz picked up the loose ball to set up Salisbury's go-ahead score. Murphy's 19th goal of the spring put the Sea Gulls up 6-5 with 8:53 remaining.

The hosts had two possessions after Salisbury took the lead.

First, Hamilton maintained control for over four minutes after Taylor Ryan '17 won the draw, but the Continentals were unable to get off a shot on goal during the possession, which ended when Salisbury's Kacy Koolage forced a turnover and scooped up the ground ball. 

The Gulls drove to the Hamilton goal before Hamilton's Morgan Fletcher '17 forced a Salisbury turnover that rolled to the Continental cage where Burrall picked it up but with 85 seconds left Anna Wehland created a turnover (Hamilton's 18th of the day) and the Sea Gulls recovered the ball before Nieves closed out the scoring with 54.2 seconds remaining. 

Nieves and Wagner both scored a pair of goals for Salisbury. King, who tallied a goal and an assist, won five draw controls to help Salisbury to a 10-4 advantage in draws. Allison Hynson won three for the Sea Gulls as they controlled eight of the game's first nine draws.

Gianna Falcone made four saves in goal to raise her record to 13-5. 

Hamilton built its 5-1 lead on a season-best performance by Skyler Simson '20. Simson scored three consecutive goals in just under three minutes to open the second half. Simson entered the
game with just four goals for the Continentals, who played without their second-leading scorer, injured all-region midfielder Casey File '17

After Simson's third goal, which was set up by Nora Klemmer '17, Hamilton needed just 48 seconds to tack on a fifth score. Klemmer forced a Salisbury turnover off the draw, leading to a free position attempt for Charlotte Wynn '20. Wynn buried the shot for her first collegiate goal.

Burrall's eight saves included three big stops in the opening period to help Hamilton hold Salisbury -- who scored 13 first-half goals in Saturday's opening round -- to one goal. She also picked up four ground balls.

Hamilton's Tatiana Bradley '19 and Salisbury's Courtney Fegan traded goals late in the first half after a scoreless stretch of more than 20 minutes.

Bradley opened the scoring, converting a pass from Kara Pooley '19 with 9:04 left. King assisted on Fegan's goal, which tied the score 5:36 before halftime.

The Sea Gull rally started when King picked up a ground ball in the Hamilton defensive zone, drove to the goal and scored to pull Salisbury to within 5-2 with 20:32 to go.

Fletcher led all players with four caused turnovers, helping the Continentals to a total of 15 (their second-highest single-game performance this year). Pooley forced three with Ryan, Klemmer and Simson (who also picked up four ground balls) adding two apiece.

The Continentals were making their ninth NCAA playoff appearance and second in three seasons.