Cardinals Triumph Over Back-to-Back National Champions No. 1 Salisbury

Cardinals Triumph Over Back-to-Back National Champions No. 1 Salisbury

WASHINGTON - After a 66 minute battle The Catholic University of America women's lacrosse team took down the back-to-back national champions No. 1 Salisbury University on Saturday, Feb. 28 in their home opener, 13-12.

The Cardinals started their first game of the 2015 season with an early goal from Alexis Bosilovic (Gibsonia, Pa. / Sewickley Academy) less than 30 seconds after the first draw of the game, creating and early 1-0 lead.

"The energy all preseason, especially this week has been amazing highlighted by today and the start of the game," said head coach Meghan McDonogh. "Everyone was extra fired up as we executed our goal of getting the first draw and goal to start the game too."

The visiting Seagulls answered in the third minute with a goal from Gabbi Nieves on a free position opportunity tying the game 1-1. Less than four minutes later Lindsay Brophy (Haddonfield, N.J. / Haddonfield Memorial)put one past Salisbury goalie Alyssa Harmke to take a 2-1 lead, putting CUA ahead within the first 10 minutes of play.

Salisbury, the reigning nation champions, gained control of the game and sent three consecutive goals into the cage past CUA goalie Tricia Pehnke (West Windsor, N.J. / West Windsor Plainsboro North) to take a 4-2 lead over the Cards. Catholic stole the Seagulls momentum as they tied it right back up to four  with goals from Nicole Laitner (Moorestown, N.J. / Moorestown) and Madeline Wilson (Pearl River, N.Y. / Pearl River).

After two additional Seagulls goals and one more Cardinal goal by Anna Stumme (Millersville, Md. / Seton Keough), assisted by Wilson, the back-and-forth battle of the beaks ended the first half 6-5 in favor of Salisbury.

Catholic took the first goal in the second half as Stumme sent the ball into the cage off a pass from Clair Schmitzer (Sparta, N.J. / Sparta) to tie the game. The Cardinals and Seagulls each went on to earn six more goals in the half before the clock reached the 60.

Anastasia Brandenburg (Edgewater, Md. / Annapolis) and Stumme each notched two for CUA in the second half while Nicolette Crisalli (Silver Spring, Md. / St. John's College) and Bosilovic each had one. With the score tied 12-12 at the end of regulation the Cardinals headed into overtime.

Two and a half minutes into the overtime period Laitner took a shot that was saved and bobbled by goalie Harmke. Laitner scooped up the rebound and tossed it into the back of the net for the Cardinals go-ahead goal. With 2:15 to play in OT the Seagulls looked to even the score with a shot from Hannah Young. Pehnke made the save and the Cards were able to maintain possession for the remainder of the period to take down the two-time reigning national champions 13-12.

"The bench energy was amazing and I cannot give our sidelines and our fans enough credit for the support throughout the entire game," expressed McDonogh. "The team was extra excited with the overtime goal and those last 39 or so seconds in the second half of the overtime period was so positive and vocal."

The win brings CUA to a 1-0 record on the season while Salisbury falls to 1-1. Catholic will head to Guilford College for their first road game on Sunday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m.

"The win feels great and shows the team all of the extra work that they have been putting in since our last game of the 2014 season has been worthwhile," said McDonogh. "It is always great to start the season with a W, it is just not all that often one gets to do it against such a great opponent!"

Note: This is the CUA women's lacrosse team's first victory over a No. 1 nationally ranked team … Their only other top 10 win was over No. 10 Messiah in 2012.