YORK, Pa. – The No. 13 York College women's lacrosse team will square off against No. 2 Salisbury on Saturday in the championship game of the 2014 Capital Athletic Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament.
The No. 2 seeded Spartans (14-3, 6-1 CAC) are coming off a 16-13 victory over Mary Washington in which Erica Mulford (Crownsville, Md./Seton Keough) and Jocelyn Hudson (York, Pa./Central York) combined for 10 goals.
The No. 1 seeded Sea Gulls (17-1, 7-0) enter Saturday's championship tilt following a 21-4 victory over Christopher Newport in a game which Salisbury tallied 10 goals in the opening 15 minutes, starting the running clock before the Captains could tally its first goal.
Saturday's game will mark the third consecutive year that the Spartans and Sea Gulls have faced off in the CAC championship game. Salisbury, who has won 11 straight conference titles, has out-scored York 30-10 in the last two title games.
The regular season meeting between these two teams resulted in a 10-3 victory for the then No. 1 ranked Sea Gulls. The Spartans got off to a quick start with goals from Kerri Nicolich (Islip, N.Y./Islip) and Sarah Castle (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) in the first seven minutes of the game. SU climbed back into the game and put themselves in position to eventually win the game with a 7-0 run through the last 17:35 in the first half and the first 3:26 of the second half.
Both teams rank towards the top in the CAC in most offensive categories, but each team has made even more impressive marks for what they have been able to do defensively. The Spartan defense ranks 17th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 7.47 goals-per-game. York also ranks second in the CAC with the second-fewest goals allowed (127) and goals-against average with 7.38. The Salisbury defense ranks seventh in the country in scoring defense, allowing 6.11 goals-per-game, while ranking first in the conference in with the fewest goals against (110) and goals-against average (6.11).
Anchoring the two defenses are two very fine net-minders. York's goalie, Ashley Smith (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson), ranks 13th in the country and first in the CAC with a .533 save percentage. Smith's 7.87 goals-against average is good for 24th nationally and second in the conference. SU's Ashton Wheatley ranks sixth in the nation and first in the CAC with a 6.14 goals-against average, while .515 save percentage is good for 19th in the country and second in the conference.
On the offensive end, Mulford leads the Green and White in goals with 43 and points with 53. Mulford's 43 goals also rank fourth in the CAC.
In addition to Mulford, York also boasts six other players with double-digit goal totals and nine others with double-digit point totals. One of those players is Megan Stine (Stevensville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) who is York's leading distributor and ranks sixth in the CAC with 22 assists.
The Sea Gull offensive is led by Shelby Nemecek who's 54 goals and 58 points lead the team and rank third and seventh in the conference respectively.
Another big gun on the Salisbury attack is Shannon Carta who ranks second on the team with 52 points, in addition to leading the team and ranking sixth in the CAC with 22 assists.
In addition to Nemecek and Carta, SU has five other players with double-digit goal totals and nine other players with double-digit point totals.
This championship match-up will feature 11 All-CAC selections and one CAC Coach of the Year selection in Salisbury head coach Jim Nestor. York's All-CAC selections include Mulford, Castle, Hudson, Smith and Megan Strauch (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall), while Salisbury's selections include Nemecek, Wheatley, Carta, Bethany Baer, Laura Maskell and Meghan Toomey.
The Spartans and Sea Gulls will face off in the 2014 CAC Women's Lacrosse Tournament championship game at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday at Sea Gull Stadium on the campus of Salisbury University. For more information related to the tournament, visit cacsports.com.
York celebration photo courtesy of Seth Nenstiel