Women’s Lacrosse Team Keeps Eye on the Prize, Earns Second Consecutive National Title
By Brody Tennant, Staff Writer
Exactly one year after their previous National Championship victory, the Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse team defended their title and remained the Division III national champions after defeating fourth-ranked Middlebury 11-9.
With this victory, the Bullets became just the fourth Division III program to win back to back national championships. They also became only the fifth Division III school to claim at least three national titles, joining The College of New Jersey, Salisbury University, Ursinus College, and their most recent opponent Middlebury.
“They were bold enough in the beginning of the year to say let’s do that again and when you make that commitment it comes with a whole lot of work and a whole lot of sacrifice and a whole lot of unselfishness,” said Coach Carol Cantele of her team’s mentality going into the season.
Junior Steph Colson was named Most Outstanding Performer in the Division III Championship for the second straight year. She had another impressive performance on the big stage, filling out the stat sheet with one goal, three assists, three ground balls, a caused turnover and nine draw controls. She also tallied 18 total draw controls in the semifinals and the championship, extending both the program and conference season record to 140. Last week, she was also named the Division III player of the year.
Colson had help along the way, with many impressive performances from her teammates. Sophomore Liza Barr had a game to remember, posting a career high five goals. Senior Katie Willis scored a couple goals of her own, and first year Kerry McKeever chipped in with a goal and an assist.
On the defensive side, junior Bailey Pilder notched twelve saves, two ground balls and a caused turnover. In addition, Senior Cassie Smith recorded four ground balls and two caused turnovers.
“I’m so incredibly proud of the seniors and what they accomplished this year, I’m going to miss them so much next year. I think as a group we’re an amazing new team this year and we had our own dream,” said Pilder.
After defeating Salisbury University 12-7, the Bullets were forced to wait an extra day to take on Middlebury and defend their title, an unsettling feeling for any athlete.
Both teams were very excited to finally get the game started, and the fans were not disappointed as they witnessed a very exciting game. In the first two minutes, Pilder recorded her first save on a shot by Hollis Perticone, and the Bullets immediately responded with a goal by Barr.
Middlebury responded with back to back goals, taking a 2-1 lead. However, Gettysburg didn’t let that last long, as they came back and scored four of the next five goals of the game. Middlebury was able to tie the game once again, but the Bullets went into the break ahead thanks to another Barr goal. After that point, Gettysburg scored six of the next seven goals.
After the break, both defenses were solid, combining for five saves in the first seven minutes of the final stanza. As time went on, Gettysburg’s constant and strong pressure on offense eventually led to some openings in the Middlebury defense. As the game began to wind down to the final couple minutes, the Bullets were able to maintain pressure and avoid the Middlebury pressure to secure their championship.
With 76 victories, the women’s lacrosse class of 2018 leaves with more career victories as a group than any graduating class in Gettysburg history.