Spartans Down Union 11-6 to Advance to the Sweet 16

Spartans Down Union 11-6 to Advance to the Sweet 16

YORK, PA – The York College women's lacrosse team rode a quick 6-0 start en route to an 11-6 win over Union College in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Division III Tournament on Sunday in York.

The Spartans improve to 14-5 overall as they advance to face Gettysburg College in the Sweet 16 next Saturday at a site to be determined. Union has their outstanding season come to a close at 13-4 overall as the loss snaps their seven-game win streak.

The Spartans got off to a fantastic start as Jayme Verman (York, Pa./Lancaster Country Day) found the back of the net just 1:50 into the game. The Spartans pushed the lead to 2-0 just a minute 49 later when Verman found senior Sarah Castle (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) on the right wing and the senior cashed in the opportunity with the goal.

Verman struck again with 25:37 remaining in the first half as she banged home a pass from Castle to give York a 3-0 lead.

Verman kept the momentum moving as she picked up a pass, made a nice juke move and converted her third goal of the day as she bounced in a shot into the goal for the 4-0 Spartan lead. Verman's third goal came with 20:55 remaining in the first.

Freshman Melissa Meehling (Monkton, Md./Hereford) added to the York lead at the 18:53 mark with an unassisted goal, her 11th goal of the year.

While the Spartan offense was clicking, the Green and White defense was outstanding. York forced seven Dutchmen turnovers in the opening 15 minutes of the game, limiting Union to just three shots as York got off to the quick start. All three of those shots came in the opening minute of the game after Union won the game's first draw.

Meehling struck for the second time on a fine individual effort with 14:15 left in the half. She drove in from the right wing, beat a defender and flicked in a bounce shot for York's sixth goal of the day.

The Dutchwomen got on the board with 7:32 left in the first half as junior Jessica Farland drove down the middle of the circle and finally solved Spartan goalie Rachel Donovan (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) for Union's first goal.

York wasted little time in getting that goal right back as freshman Lily Damalouji (Prince Frederick, Md./Calvert) beat the Union defense for the unassisted goal just 27 seconds after Farland's goal.

The Dutchwomen started to gain a little moment late in the half as Jackie Hagopian registered her 24th goal of the year, cutting the York lead to 7-2 with 5:16 remaining in the first. Hagopian scored again at the 2:52 mark but Spartan Rachel Saks (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) answered with just ten seconds left in the half as Verman fed her for the goal.

Despite holding an 8-3 lead at the break, York did not hold ridiculous statistical advantages. York led in shots 17-12, in draw controls 7-5, and in saves 4-2 while Union had a 9-8 margin in ground balls. The Dutchwomen turned the ball over eight times in the opening half while York had just three miscues.  

The second half was much closer as the Dutchwomen did a good job of taking the play at the Spartans. After Damalouji scored the first goal of the second half, the Dutchwomen went on a three-goal spurt to draw to within three at 9-6. Ciara Dudeck (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) started the spurt with an unassisted goal at the 16:36 mark. Hagopian then netted a pair of goals 38 seconds apart to make life uncomfortable for the Green and White.

The Spartans would hang on the remaining 12 minutes of the game as York won its third straight NCAA Tournament home game. Meehling and Sarah Sitton (Hampstead, Md./Manchester Valley) got a pair of insurance goals in the final 2:08 of the game to provide for the final York margin of victory.

Verman led the Spartans as the sophomore tallied six points on three goals and three assists. Meehling recorded a career-high three goals while Damalouji tallied a pair of goals in the win. Castle added a goal and an assist for two points.

Junior defender Megan Strauch (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) played a fantastic game as she picked up a team-high five ground balls, collected four draw controls and also added a caused turnover.

Hagopian led the Dutchwomen with four goals on eight shots. Farland added a goal and an assist for two points while Dudeck tallied the other Union goal. The six goals were the lowest offensive output for the Dutchwomen this year. Haley Gould collected a team-high five ground balls while she led all players with six draw controls.

Donovan earned the win in goal as she recorded six saves in her 60 minutes of work. She improves to 4-2 with the victory. Kim Grinhaus suffered the loss for Union as she allowed 11 goals while she made six saves. She falls to 13-4 with the loss.

Spartan head coach Jen Muston was pleased with the performance of her squad.

"We wanted to jump on them early and get them on their heels and I think we accomplished that," said Muston. "Lacrosse is a game of runs and I think was did a great job of getting on them early. That start ultimately got us the win."

York finished the game holding a 27-24 edge in shots while Union held a 17-16 advantage in ground balls and a 10-8 margin in draw controls.

The difference was Union's 17 turnovers as York ended the game with 11 caused turnovers. The Spartans made just eight miscues in the win.

The Spartans will find out where they will face Gettysburg next Saturday when the host sites are announced on Monday.

Jayme Verman photo courtesy of David Sinclair