Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/18/09
Franklin & Marshall’s Class of 2009 is complete. The final eight seniors accepted their diplomas from President John Fry about an hour after winning their second NCAA Division III Championship in three years. Soaked in sweat, painted in eye black, and one with a cut under her nose, the Diplomats collected their sheepskins in front of friends and family.
“When we did this last year, I said ‘We’ll be back here with a different result,'” Fry said to a standing ovation.
After watching their classmates graduate via webcast over breakfast on Saturday, Diplomats’ seniors Jen Pritchard (Penncrest), Shannon Summers (Hill School), Sarah Nyman (Great Valley), Lindsay Evans-Leary, Devi Hensch, Chelsea Meerbach, Sarah Meisenberg, and Alison Solomon, and were the stars of the show Sunday evening. President Fry and Kent Trachte, Dean of the College, travelled to Salem to watch F&M defeat Salisbury 11-10 in overtime of the NCAA Championship at Salem, Va., and honor one of the most accomplished groups of senior athletes in F&M’s storied tradition.
Pritchard (four goals) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tourney and was joined by Summers (two goals) on the all-tourney team. Other keys for F&M were senior Ashley Bevington (Hill School; one groundball) and sophomore Meredith Lussier (Radnor; one goal).
“I think when you have your 50th anniversary you’ll be talking about this game. It was a great game,” Fry told the seniors. “I think it was the greatest Division III championship game in history.”
The Diplomats’ seniors piled up an overall record of 76-8 and a record of 37-1 in games against Centennial Conference opponents. The group has posted a record of 42-1 on their home field and owns just about all of the major season and career statistical records tracked.
The championship game was a memorable one from start to finish. Only 62 seconds away from defeat, Franklin & Marshall’s Cat Serpe streaked into the Salisbury eight-meter fan and dumped the ball inside of the right post. Serpe’s shot salvaged the season and sent the game into overtime.
Less than three minutes later, Blake Hargest cashed in on the second life to deliver the Diplomats (21-1) the dramatic win over the Sea Gulls (20-2). Hargest had camped on the front of the goal circle.
She collected a Meisenberg feed from behind the net and buried her shot from point blank. Pritchard took the ensuing draw and started the Diplomats on a successful stall that killed the remaining 20 seconds of the first half of overtime. Meisenberg then won the draw that started the second overtime period, and led a three-minute stall to the title.
Serpe’s goal marked the eighth tie of the contest, while Hargest’s goal represented the sixth and final lead change. Neither team led by more than two goals, largely because of outstanding work by both keepers and defenses. Salisbury’s Sonja Stuart stood tall throughout rolling up 10 saves and denying repeated Diplomat quick sticks – often in sprawling fashion. At the other end, Lidia Sanza was equally impressive, turning away eight Sea Gull advances, including a point blank shot at the top of the goal circle just inside of 12 minutes to play.
The keepers were especially dominant in the opening minutes. Meagan Osipowich’s goal off of an F&M turnover 1:23 in was the only marker until Meisenberg knotted it up at the 13-minute mark. It was the first of two Meisenberg goals in the game, both coming in the first half. Her second goal was a 12-meter run through the heart of the Salisbury defense, which gave F&M a 4-2 lead with slightly less than ten minutes left in the first half.
Meisenberg’s goal was answered by Courtney Sorensen, starting a Salisbury three-goal run to the half. The run, which made it 5-4 at the half, saw Osipowich add her second of the game and a Logan Bilderback tally on the free position. The Gulls made good on four of their six eight meter attempts.
F&M answered on the other side of the break when two of the three-leading point getters in F&M history went to work. Summers worked out from behind both sides of the net for unassisted goals. Her tallies served as bookends to Pritchard’s first goal of the game. Pritchard’s tally extended her scoring streak to 69 games, and marked the 83rd time in 84 games she scored at least a goal. Pritchard rolled up two more in the half, both fed by Summers from behind.
Pritchard’s second goal gave F&M a 9-8 lead, but it didn’t last for long. Salisbury scored twice moments apart, necessitating Serpe’s heroics. A Meisenberg caused turnover provided F&M’s game tying possession.
The Diplomats’ defense held Salisbury’s top two scorers without a goal, including Beth Rhodey, who was marked by Hensch throughout the contest.
The victory makes Franklin & Marshall’s women’s lacrosse team the first program to earn a second national championship at the college and avenged F&M’s only loss of the season. It also made first-year coach, Lauren Paul, the first coach to win a national championship in women’s lacrosse in her first season.
In Saturday’s semifinals, F&M defeated Hamilton College, 16-13, to avenge a 13-6 loss to the same team in last year’s finals. Hargest had four goals while Lessier had three goals and three assists, Bevington scored three goals, Pritchard had two and Summers added one.
F&M All Tournament Selections
Blake Hargest | Sarah Meisenberg | Jen Pritchard – Most Outstanding Player | Lidia Sanza | Shannon Summers
Franklin & Marshall (21-1) vs. Salisbury (20-2)
Franklin & Marshall. 4 6 1 – 11
Salisbury……….. 5 5 0 – 10
Franklin & Marshall SCORING: GOALS: Jen Pritchard 4; Shannon Summers 2; Sarah Meisenberg 2; Blake Hargest 1; Meredith Lussier 1; Cat Serpe 1. ASSISTS: Shannon Summers 2; Blake Hargest 1; Sarah Meisenberg 1.
Salisbury SCORING: GOALS: Courtney Sorenson 3; Logan Bilderback 2; Ashleigh Gender 2; Meagan Osipowich 2; Aileen McCausland 1. ASSISTS: Logan Bilderback 1.
Franklin & Marshall GROUND BALLS: Lidia Sanza 3; Paulette Cutruzzula 2; Cat Serpe 2; Ashley Bevington 1; Devi Hensch 1; Sarah Meisenberg 1; Allison Solomon 1; Shannon Summers 1.
Salisbury GROUND BALLS: Sonja Stuart 4; Ashleigh Gender 2; Maddie Goetz 2; Sarah McKinley 2; Logan Bilderback 1; Sarah Maggio 1; Beth Rhodey 1.
Franklin & Marshall TURNOVERS CAUSED: Devi Hensch 3; Ashley Bevington 1; Paulette Cutruzzula 1; Sarah Meisenberg 1; Amanda Miceli 1; Sarah Nyman 1; Cat Serpe 1.
Salisbury TURNOVERS CAUSED: Maddie Goetz 2; Holly Johnson 2; Logan Bilderback 1; Aileen McCausland 1.
SHOTS – Franklin & Marshall 34; Salisbury 23.
SHOTS ON GOAL – Franklin & Marshall 21; Salisbury 18.
TURNOVERS – Franklin & Marshall 9; Salisbury 13.
CLEARS – Franklin & Marshall 11-15; Salisbury 15-16.
GOALIES – F&MW: Lidia Sanza 19-1 (66:00 minutes, 18 shots-8 saves, 10 GA); SAL: Sonja Stuart 19-2 (66:00, 21-10, 11).