Team Eyes Return to National Championship Game

SALISBURY, Md. After making a run to the program's fifth national championship game last year, Salisbury has one thing on its mind to close the deal and bring back the Division III national championship trophy to the Eastern Shore for a second time. For the Sea Gulls, while winning the Capital Athletic Conference is the first goal, a successful season will feature a return trip to the championship weekend.

The 21 returning Sea Gulls gained invaluable experience in 2012, both from knowing what it takes to get to the final weekend of play and not wanting to go through the heartbreak of last season's national championship game loss. This team is a tight-knit family and wants to send out the six seniors with another national championship.

"We're feeling good going into this season," head coach Jim Nestor said about his squad that features returning talent at every position on the field. "This is the most veteran squad that we have ever had returning and having proved themselves we're looking forward to the season coming up, but we need to stay healthy."

This Salisbury team returns three Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association All-Americans, four members of the IWLCA All-Region team and five student-athletes named to the All-CAC First Team. There certainly is no shortage of talent on the team and the Sea Gulls' goal is to return home from Owings Mills, Md., the third weekend in May with a national championship trophy accompanying them.

Attack
The Sea Gulls annually rank near the top of Division III in goal scoring, as they did in 2012 and 2013 looks promising with plenty of production returning from last year's squad. The team led the nation with 537 points and averaged 15.43 goals per game last year, good for 19th in the nation. Returning are the top-two scorers from last year, seniors Katie Bollhorst and Lauren Feusahrens.

"Having those two back is a huge help," Nestor said about his leading top two offensive weapons returning. "Their leadership alone, knowing how to settle the offense and look at the momentum of the game, is going to help this year."

Bollhorst, the 2012 Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year and IWLCA All-America First-Team selection, put up the second-most points by a Sea Gull in a season in program history and was sixth in the nation last year with 121 points. The Severna Park, Md., native dished out 72 assists good for the third-highest total in Division III and the second most by any Sea Gull player in a single season.

Feusahrens had a breakout year in her second campaign in maroon and gold, leading the Sea Gulls with 73 goals last year. The Solomons, Md., native added 26 assists, giving her 99 points last year, placing her sixth on Salisbury's all-time single-season points list.

Along with a handful of newcomers, Nestor is essentially adding two players to this year's squad that he is familiar with, as senior Maggie Roundy and junior Shelby Nemecek return from injury. Roundy only played in two contests last year, and Nemecek missed all of last year, but both are expected to have a big impact in the Gulls' offensive third.

Also returning are juniors Shannon Carta and Katelyn Blondino, and sophomores Kate Haker and Kara O'Rourke. Freshman Melissa Webster is in her first season at Salisbury.

"We are a very well balanced team, up front," Nestor said. "There is no weight on any one player's shoulders to score. If we play the way we are capable of, we will score. Everyone will need to do their part so the offense is balanced."

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2013-02-21



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