YORK, PA – The York College women's lacrosse team earned their third straight trip to the Capital Athletic Conference championship game as the Spartans registered a 16-13 semifinal win over the University of Mary Washington on Saturday in York.
The Spartans advance to face the winner of Sunday's Salisbury-Christopher Newport semifinal in the conference championship game on Saturday, May 3.
York improves to 14-3 overall while the Eagles see their season come to a close with a mark of 13-5.
Senior Melissa Ritchey (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) opened the scoring with an unassisted tally just under four minutes into the game. The Eagles' Emily Atkinson responded with an unassisted tally of her own less than 40 seconds later, knotting the game at one.
The Spartans then took control of the game as they ripped off four straight goals to seize a 5-1 lead. Kerri Nicolich (Islip, N.Y./Islip) began the run with a goal on a free position shot. Erica Mulford (Crownsville, Md./Seton Keough) followed with an unassisted tally. Senior Jocelyn Hudson (York, Pa./Central York) closed the run with a pair of goals four minutes apart.
UMW's Jenna Petrucelli halted the Spartan spurt with a goal at the 19:14 mark of the first half. York would then score three of the next four goals of the game as the Green and White extended their lead to 8-3. Hudson, Megan Stine (Stevensville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) and Nicolich scored on the run for the hosts.
Mary Washington answered with a three goal spurt of their own as Katie Williams found the back of the net twice, cutting the York lead to 8-6. Hudson scored her fourth goal of the half with 1:49 remaining in the stanza to give the Green and White a 9-6 lead at the break.
Mulford got the Spartans started off on the right foot in the second half as she notched a pair of unassisted goals less than five minutes into the half. Atkinson scored her third goal of the game to temporarily halt the Mulford run but the Spartan senior added two more goals right after Atkinson's goal as the Spartan lead ballooned to 13-7 with 13:55 left.
The Eagles cut into the York lead by scoring three of the next four goals of the game, trimming the Spartans' advantage to 14-10 with 8:50 remaining in regulation. Allison Kolacy (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Knolls) and Mulford found the back of the net for the Spartans, pushing the York led to 16-10 with 5:21 left.
The Eagles would make it interesting late in the game as they scored three goals in the final 3:43 of the game but York's lead was big enough to withstand the burst as the Green and White tied their school record for wins in a season with the victory.
Mulford was outstanding as the senior attack notched a game-high six goals with an assist for seven points. She now has 196 points for her Spartan career as she is closing in on becoming just the second York women's lacrosse player to reach 200 career points. Hudson chipped in with four goals, six draw controls, and one ground ball. Ritchey added a goal and two assists while Kolacy and Nicolich each added a pair of goals.
Senior Jess Soroka (Pasadena, Md./Chessapeake Senior) forced a game high four Eagle turnovers while she also had a pair of ground balls. Karlie Dougherty (Baltimore, Md./Mercy) also had six draw controls for York. Freshman defender Macy Yates (Davidsonville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) collected a team-high five ground balls and caused two turnovers.
Williams led the Eagles with six points on four goals and two assists. Petrucelli added four goals and seven draw controls while Atkinson had four points on three goals and an assist.
The Spartans outshot the Eagles 37-34 while UMW held a 28-21 margin in ground balls. York won 19 of the 27 draw controls and the Spartans were clutch on free position chances as they banged home four of their five chances.
Spartan netminder Ashley Smith (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) recorded 13 saves in the win. Taylor Paige took the loss as she allowed all 16 York goals while she made five saves.
The 2014 CAC Championship game will be held on Saturday, May 3 at the site of the highest remaining seed. York is the second seed while Salisbury is the top seed and Christopher Newport is the fifth seed in the tournament.
Erica Mulford photo courtesy of Seth Nensteil