No. 16 field hockey falls to No. 3 Salisbury in NCAA quarterfinal

Lynchburg defenders try to stop the ball in a field hockey game at Salisbury

Salisbury, Md. -- On Sunday afternoon, the historic season for the No. 16-ranked University of Lynchburg field hockey team came to an end as it encountered something it had not experienced since September 28, a defeat.

The Hornets' 15-game win streak ended at the hands of the No. 3-ranked Sea Gulls of Salisbury, 2-0, in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Lynchburg (20-4) was stymied by a Sea Gull defense as the Hornets did not get off a shot in the contest. 

The Lynchburg defense was put to the test early as the Sea Gulls controlled the ball for most of the first half. Junior goalkeeper Laurel Nicks faced seven shots to open the first quarter, but the Hornet defense held strong and held SU to only two shots in the second quarter and sent the game to halftime, scoreless. 

Immediately after the break, the Sea Gulls (20-1) found the back of the cage after a penalty corner as Arielle Johnston put the ball past Nicks on an assist from Jenna Partilla. The SU offense continued its barrage of shots but Nicks held strong in the Hornet cage and recorded 14 saves on the afternoon. 

SU scored again at the 50:50 mark to put the Sea Gulls up 2-0. 

"I'm proud of my team. There are only eight schools that made it as far as we did," Hornets head coach Enza Steele said. "Be proud of a 20-game winning season."

The 2019 iteration of the Hornets was just the fifth team in the program's illustrious history to reach the third round of the NCAA playoffs and only the third team to amass 20 wins in a season. It was the first time since 2001.

The game was just the ninth time Lynchburg and Salisbury have matched up, and it was only the second time the two powerhouses have met in the NCAA tournament. Lynchburg edged out SU in penalty strokes in a second-round game of that 2001 season.

Lynchburg is poised for another successful run in 2020 as it returns its entire starting lineup for next season. 

"Watch out," Steele said "That's all I can say. The future is going to be extremely bright."

--LYN--

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