WESTFIELD, Mass. - Salisbury took advantage of its set plays and got two goals from sophomore Megan Powell to defeat Middlebury College, 6-3, yesterday in the NCAA Division III field hockey championship game.
With the victory, the Sea Gulls completed a 22-0 season and extended their winning streak to 33 games, dating to Oct. 14, 2003.
Salisbury, which also defeated Middlebury in the 2003 title game, scored on three of its four first-half penalty corners, and also scored on a free-hit play to take a 4-1 halftime lead.
The Sea Gulls capitalized on their first penalty corner with 24:50 left in the first half when Abby Rowe converted a pass from midfielder Danielle Twilley for a 1-0 advantage.
"We like to score first and knock them on their heels," Powell said. "It helps a lot that we've been here before. We stayed calm and played our hearts out."
A little more than a minute later, Salisbury earned its second penalty and Melissa Webster scored to extend the lead to 2-0.
About six minutes later, on a free hit from 20 yards, senior Erin Budd fired a pass to the back post. Junior Britney Elliott dived and got her stick on the ball to redirect it into the goal to give Salisbury a 3-0 lead.
Middlebury got one goal back off a penalty corner of its own when Allison Smith received the corner, stopped it, and blasted a shot just inside the circle that was tipped past Sea Gulls goalkeeper Maria Ramoundos by senior forward Ashley Pullen.
"We went after it hard and set the tone early. We knew Middlebury was going to score, but we just had to score more," Salisbury coach Dawn Chamberlin said.
Salisbury did score more. About a minute later, at the 14:17 mark of the half, Webster received another penalty corner and passed it to Budd, who fired the ball into the cage from 12 yards to extend the Sea Gulls' lead to 4-1.
Middlebury started the second half in a flourish, putting the pressure on in the first minute of the second half.
But Powell put Salisbury further ahead with 18:57 remaining, making the score 5-1.
The Panthers scored two goals within five minutes to put the outcome in doubt. But Powell scored again with five minutes left to seal the win.
The nine goals scored is a record for an NCAA Division III championship game and just one off the record for goals in any tournament game (10), which has happened twice. Salisbury also set a record for goals in a tournament, with 19 over four games.
Goals: M-Edelen, Berrien, Pullen; S-Powell 2, Webster, Elliott, Budd, Rowe. Assists: M-Smith; S-Webster 2, Twilley, Lloyd. Saves: M-McGillen 5; S-Ramoundos 9. Half: S, 4-1.