Salisbury, Md. – After falling behind, 3-2, the Trinity College women's lacrosse team finished the first half on an 11-2 run and outscored Rhodes, 7-6, in the second half to win, 20-11, in the third round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship Tournament and advance to tomorrow's quarterfinal round. The Bantams, ranked No. 11 in the nation, improve to 13-6 and advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 14th time and the ninth year in a row. Rhodes ends its season at 15-4, having lost for the first time in ten games. Trinity will square off against regional host, Salisbury University, which won the day's first game, 16-4, over Denison College, in tomorrow's quarterfinals at 1:00 p.m.
Rhodes took a quick, 1-0, lead just 16 seconds into play when Kendall Cunningham (Alexandria, Va.) beat Trinity senior tri-captain and goalie Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) to the top corner of the net on a free-position attempt. Trinity responded thanks to a free-position goal by senior Kiley Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) before Cunningham added her second goal of the afternoon, also via a free-position attempt, to put Rhodes up, 2-1.
After a strong save by Ferguson on a free-position shot from Rhodes coupled with a caused turnover by junior Mary French (Gloucester, Mass.), Bantam rookie Sophie Berger (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) scored on the opposite end of the field to tie things at 2-2 with just over 20 minutes remaining in the half. The Lynx reclaimed a one-goal lead with 19:17 showing on the clock when Olivia Holmes (Boulder, Colo.) took three hard steps and bounced a free-position attempt into the back of the net for her 38th goal of the year.
The back-and-forth affair continued when Coffey fired a shot with 17:28 remaining in the half that looked like it was saved by Rhodes goalie Mallika Rao (Austin, Texas), but Rao was unable to fully control the ball as it trickled over the goal line for the third Bantam score of the afternoon. Just 39 seconds later, tri-captain Allie Barrett (Concord, Mass.) found the back of the net to put Trinity ahead, 4-3, for its first lead of the game. Less than a minute later, French scored Trinity's third unanswered goal to jump out to a 5-3 lead before scoring once more just 1:27 later to open up a 6-3 advantage for the Bantams.
Trinity closed the half on an 11-3 run to take a commanding, 13-5, lead into the break. Senior Grace O'Donnell (Yarmouth, Maine) led the way with four first half tallies, all in the final 7:54, while Coffey, Berger and French each scored multiple times as well. The Bantams won the shot battle, 27-11, and forced 11 Lynx turnovers.
Cook, Coffey and O'Donnell scored the first three goals of the second half for Trinity to put the Bantams up, 16-5, before Rhodes ended the run with a goal by Holmes. After another Bantam tally from Coffey, the Lynx scored again when Maggie Rippeto (Houston, Texas) fired a shot into the back of the net, making it a 17-7 game with 16:40 to go. Berger and Cunningham traded goals to make it an 18-8 game before Cunningham scored her fourth goal of the afternoon with 8:21 remaining to cut the deficit to 18-9. Cunningham scored again just 36 seconds later to cut the deficit to eight but a Trinity goal by sophomore Kristina Cartwright (Braintree, Mass.) with 6:44 left to go kept the Bantams ahead by a comfortable margin. Cunningham scored once more for the Lynx but was matched by a goal from Trinity junior Brooke Swan (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) to account for the game's final score of 20-11.
O'Donnell and Coffey both led Trinity with five goals apiece while Berger finished with a hat trick and French had two goals as well. Trinity dominated off the draw, winning 26 to Rhodes' seven, led by senior Abby McInerney (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) who had a game-high 11, and junior Caroline McKenna (Sandwich, Mass.) who had six. French, senior tri-captain Clara Nowlan (Needham, Mass.) and junior Jen Durocher (Longmeadow, Mass.) led the Bantam defense with two caused turnovers each.