Salem, Va. – The Trinity College Bantams trailed the Gettysburg College Bullets, 2-1, entering halftime but were outscored, 6-3, in the second half as they fell, 8-4, in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse National Championship Semifinals this afternoon at Kerr Stadium on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Va. Trinity, playing in its sixth consecutive NCAA Semifinal game, ends the year with a 17-5 record having fallen short of the national title game for the first time in six years.
Post-Game Press Conference
"What we just said to the team was how incredible of a season it was and how great of an opportunity it was to be here," said Trinity Head Coach Katy Dissinger after the game. "It was just a day where everything didn't necessarily connect."
Gettysburg nearly broke the scoreless tie at the 24 minute mark when Emma Christie (Cos Cob, Conn.) fired a shot on net from point blank range but Bantam junior goalie Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) came up with the first of a handful of clutch saves to keep the Bullets off the scoreboard. Gettysburg senior goalie Shannon Keeler (Moorestown, N.J.) made a nearly identical save on the other end of the field on a shot by Trinity junior Kiley Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) as both defenses held the opposing attacks in check for the first ten minutes of the game.
Gettysburg struck first at the 19:15 mark in the first half on a successful free-position attempt by Caroline Jaeger (Hampton, N.J.) before the senior doubled up Gettysburg's lead less than two minutes later. Off the ensuing draw, the Bullets nearly made it a three-goal advantage on a shot by Katie Landry (Hingham, Mass.) but Ferguson was there to shut the door with her second of three first half saves. The Bantams got on the board with 6:59 left in the opening half when junior Allie Barrett (Concord, Mass.) ripped a shot past Keeler to make it a 2-1 game. With 2:46 left before the half, Ferguson came up clutch once again, stoning a free-position attempt by Steph Colson (Westminster, Md.) to keep it a one-goal game. Trinity senior captain Clare Lyne (Concord, Mass.) had two shots on net in the final 1:12 of the half but Keeler was there both times to turn them away, finishing the half with 12 saves as Gettysburg entered the break with a 2-1 lead.
Landry scored just over two minutes into the second frame when Christie found her streaking towards the net off of a free-position attempt to ignite a 5-0 Gettysburg run. Maggie McClain (Wexford, Pa.) scored on a free-position shot at the 25:28 mark to give the Bullets a 4-1 advantage before a pair of scores from Katie Willis (Baltimore, Md.) and another by Christie opened up a 7-1 lead with 22:17 left to play. Bantam junior Abby McInerney (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) ended the run at the 21:36 mark when she forced her way through the Bullet defense and buried the ball into the back of the net, cutting the deficit to five. Fellow junior Grace O'Donnell (Yarmouth, Maine) scored Trinity's second-straight goal at 13:06 off a pass from behind the net by classmate Jennifer Cook (Manhasset, N.Y.) to set up for a back-and-forth final ten minutes.
The Bullets went ahead, 8-3, with 4:31 remaining when Landry found McClain in front of the net who took one step and rifled a shot into the top corner of the goal. The Bantams answered, however, just 17 seconds later on a score by senior captain Karly Simpson (South Hadley, Mass.) to cut the deficit back to four. O'Donnell nearly brought the Bantams within three on a free-position attempt with 3:37 left to play but Keeler made the save to preserve the 8-4 lead which would stand as the final score.
Trinity outshot Gettysburg, 25-19, but Keeler finished with 15 saves to earn the win in net for the Bullets. The Bantams also won 8-of-14 draw controls as Coffey finished with a game-high four, followed by Simpson and Barrett who each had two, but the Bullets won the ground ball battle, 18-13, and caused five Bantam turnovers. Barrett led Trinity with a goal and two draw controls while senior defender Lara Guida (Mendham, N.J.) paced the Bantam back-line with three ground balls. Jaeger led Gettysburg offensively with two goals while Landry tallied three assists.
Coach Dissinger reflected on the nine-member senior class and their importance to the program after the game. "They were able to reach every single person on the team. They were able to do a really good job connecting with everyone and totally bought into the idea of getting everyone on the same page. It's easy to make senior year about yourself but they made it about the rest of the team, paving a path for the classes under them and leaving a legacy for those who will follow."
Barrett had a similar sentiment about her senior teammates who finish their careers with a 15-4 NCAA Tournament record. "I have been so lucky to play with these seniors. We talked about it earlier but you play lacrosse because you love the game but also because of the people you love to play with. This class helped make my overall experience at Trinity so great. How they have handled those losses and wins is how they have become amazing players. As juniors and sophomores, we have been really lucky to play alongside them."