MSM Upends Sacred Heart to Reach NEC Title Game

FAIRFIELD, Conn. Jen Semler (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) had a hand in three first half goals and Brigid McTavish (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) made 10 saves to propel Mount St. Mary's past top-seed Sacred Heart 7-4 in the Northeast Conference (NEC) demifinals on Friday. With the win, the Mount (8-10) moves onto the NEC championship game for the second-straight year and the sixth time in program history.

Semler helped the Mountaineers become the second No. 4 seed in league history to win a game with two goals and an assist in the first half. The All-NEC second-team selection opened the match with an unassisted tally at 5:25 and also scored at 17:36. Semler added an assist at 17:46 to give Mount St. Mary's a 4-0 lead. McTavish notched one of her best performances of the year in between the pipes, making 10 saves of the day including six stops in the first half.

Erin Seipp (Towson, Md./Notre Dame Preparatory) added two goals for the Mount while Kaitlyn Larrimore (Pylesville, Md./North Harford), Lindsay Diaz (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) and Esther Rufolo (Woodstock, Md./Chapelgate Christian Academy) also found the twine. Gabe Little (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll), an All-NEC second-team selection, powered the defense with five ground balls and three caused turnovers. Kelsey Russo, Kaitlin Rochler, Emily Pepe and Katie Gerhard each scored for the Pioneers (8-9) while Kelly Keenan made eight saves in the loss.

In the first 14 years of the league, only one No. 4 seed has ever upset the top seed in the NEC Semifinals. Mount St. Mary's in 2003 defeated Monmouth 15-7 to become the first and only team to knock off the No. 1 seed until the Mount rolled off five goals in the first half and held on for a 7-4 victory against Sacred Heart on Friday.

The Mount scored all five goals in the first half to jump out to a 5-0 lead against the host Pioneers.

Semler started the scoring in the match with an unassisted tally at 5:25. After Seipp, a NEC All-Rookie selection, found the twine at 8:16, Semler had a hand in the Mountaineers next two goals. The senior notched her second goal of the afternoon at 17:36 and then set up Diaz, an All-NEC second-team performer, at 19:46. Rufolo, an All-NEC selection, capped the five-goal first half with a hard rifle shot at 24:50.

The Pioneers scored four of the six goals in the final period, but the Mountaineers came away with the victory. Rochler put Sacred Heart on the scoreboard off a feeder from Kate Kmiotek 47 seconds into the final stanza to trim the margin to 5-1.

Mount St. Mary's answered with a pair of goals to increase the advantage to 7-1. Seipp recorded her second tally of the day at 31:42 and Larrimore found the back of the net at 43:47 for a six-goal advantage.

The Pioneers would score the final three markers of the match, but could get no closer. Gerhard (46:40), Pepe (51:01) and Russo (54:18) each posted goals in the final 15 minutes.

Meaghan Conlon (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty), an All-NEC first-team selection, added a career-high six ground balls and two caused turnovers. Diaz posted a game-high five draw controls and now has 72 for the season, the second-most on the program's single-season chart. Rufolo moved into the program's career Top-10 with her tally and now stands at 86 career goals.

The Mount held a team off the scoreboard in a half for the first time since it accomplished the feat against Howard on Feb. 20, 2010.

Mount St. Mary's will play in its sixth NEC Championship Game and second-consecutive title game on Sunday. Match time is 1:00 p.m. The Mount also advanced to the NEC Championship Game in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2011. The Mount won the NEC title in 2004 and 2005.

2012-04-27



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