Gannon Clinches Home Playoff with Win at Shippensburg

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. The No. 15 Gannon women's lacrosse team scored the first six goals of the match and never looked back en route to a 16-6 victory Saturday afternoon at Shippensburg.

The victory clinched at least a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) quarterfinal home match for the Lady Knights. Gannon can still finish second, third or fourth in the standings. If Kutztown beats West Chester on April 26 and Gannon defeats Mercyhurst April 28, the Lady Knights will enter the PSAC Tournament as the second seed and will receive a bye into the conference final four. The quarterfinal match-ups scheduled for Tuesday, May 1 include the sixth seed at the third seed and the fifth seed at the fourth seed.

Head coach Lindsey Lowman's club picked up its 10th victory of the season, reaching double digits for the eighth consecutive campaign and 13th time in the program's 17-year history. The Lady Knights' eighth conference win also ties the most during the program's four years in the PSAC, tying last year's team which finished 8-3.

Gannon wasted little time getting the offense rolling during a rainy Saturday afternoon. Rachel DerCola (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) scored unassisted 1:34 into the contest, starting the 6-0 blitz. Kimberly Neagle (Auburn, N.Y./Auburn) ripped two past the Ship goalkeeper after a Christie Valentine (Friendship, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) score. Stevie Lombardoni (Mexico, N.Y./Mexico) followed with a goal, before Sarah Grzybinski's (New Market, Md./Linganore) tally with 16:50 left in the first half gave the Lady Knights a 6-0 advantage.

Shippensburg put together its only rally of the afternoon after that, rattling off four straight goals to cut the deficit to 6-4. But Mother Nature quickly put an end to the rally, causing a delay in the match due to lightning.

Following the delay, Gannon immediately regained the upper hand with five straight goals. Grzybinski capped the run with back-to-back scores 13 seconds apart. The second tally pushed the Lady Knights lead to 11-4 with 4:05 left in the first half.

A late Shippensburg goal put the halftime score at 11-5 and another Red Raider score to open the second half cut the deficit to five goals.

However, Sheila Johnson's goal 4:38 into the second half was the final tally of the day for the Red Raiders. Gannon held Shippensburg scoreless for the final 25 minutes and 22 seconds. In the process, the Lady Knights scored the last five goals to account for the final 16-6 score.

Gannon held advantages in shots (32-21), draw controls (17-7) and opponent turnovers (20-18). Shippensburg picked up 19 ground balls compared to the Lady Knights' 15.

Grzybinski led the Gannon offensive unit with four goals, recording her 10th hat trick in 15 matches. DerCola and Jess Fugate (Wooster, Ohio/Wooster) had four points each. DerCola scored twice to go along with two assists. Fugate found the back of the net three times and assisted on a goal. Lombardoni joined Grzybinski and Fugate in the hat trick trio with three goals of her own.

Neagle chipped in two goals and one assist. Valentine and Caitlyn Fisher (Cypress, Texas/Cy-Fair) both recorded one score and one assist. Margaret Maslyn (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) recorded nine saves during the match, including six during the final 30 minutes when she held the Red Raiders to only one goal. It represented the sixth time this season she turned away at least nine shots.

Gannon, ranked 15th in the latest Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Top 15 Poll, improved to 10-5 overall and 8-2 in the PSAC with its third consecutive victory and ninth win during the last 11 matches. Shippensburg dropped to 7-8 overall and 3-7 in conference play. The Lady Knights return to action Thursday, April 26 against Tiffin at Gannon University Field. The regular-season home finale is slated for 5:00 p.m.


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