SALISBURY, Md. (May 12, 2018) – The USMMA women's lacrosse team had its most successful campaign in program history come to an end with a tough 20-9 loss to Meredith College in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium on the campus of Salisbury University. In defeat, the Mariners end the season with a 14-3 record, while the Avenging Angles improve to 16-4 and advance to the NCAA Second Round to take on hosts #2 Salisbury.
Meredith scored the first three goals of the game in the opening 10 minutes before Merchant Marine fought back with three of the next four goals to pull within one, 4-3, at 13:54. The Avenging Angels finished the first half strong, however, taking control of the game with eight of the last nine goals to go ahead 11-4 into the halftime break. The Mariners had a total of five shots hit the post or crossbar in the opening 30 minutes.
In the second half, the Meredith lead hit double digits at 22:15, and got as high as 13 at 13:15, when the Avenging Angels made the score 20-7. The Mariners tallied the final two goals of regulation to close out the scoring on the day.
Junior Meredith Willard (Portland, Maine) led all players in the game with seven points on five goals and two assists. Her first goal of the afternoon was her 150th career goal, as she hit both the 100- and 150-career goal plateaus this season.
Classmate Jessica Reilly (Sayville, N.Y.) added two goals and one helper, while two other Mariners found the back of the net – junior Maura Malone (Yorktown, Va.) and freshman Grace Neary (Highland Falls, N.Y.). Malone also picked up a team-high five draw controls, while senior Rebecca Bessler (Kent, Wash.) was second on the squad with four groundballs in her final career game.
In goal, junior Hannah Gizzi (Finksburg, Md.) made 13 saves and recorded a game-high nine groundballs, while also tying for the game-best with four caused turnovers.
For Meredith, senior Carlee Joseph led the way with six goals, while freshman Lilia Cruz contributed five points on a goal and four assists. Two other Avenging Angles registered four points each, as junior Lilia Cruz found the back of the cage four times and sophomore Maria Codispoti added two goals and two helpers.
Freshman goalie Joy Deitrich made five saves in just under 45 minutes of action to pick up the victory between the pipes, and sophomore Haley Whitfield made one save in just over 15 minutes of relief. Hite had a game-high 10 draw controls and senior defender Cameron Ruffin tied Gizzi for the game-best with four caused turnovers while also picking up a team-high four groundballs.
To view USMMA's postgame press conference with sixth-year head coach Kyle Simensky and Willard, follow this link.
The Mariners' 2018 season was the best in the six-year history of the program. The team set a new Academy mark for wins in a season with 14 and also won its first Skyline Conference Championship and, in doing so, qualified for the program's first trip to the NCAA National Tournament. Numerous program-records were also broken and/or built upon throughout the season.
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