Women's Lax falls to top-seed Tenn. Wesleyan in NWLL semis
ROME -- Chelsea Walsh and Tess Sasse scored five goals apiece and top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan College advanced to Saturday's National Women's Lacrosse League championship game with a 17-7 victory over No. 4 seed Shorter University on Friday afternoon at Ben Brady Field in Rome, Ga.
Tennessee Wesleyan (11-4) will take on second-seeded Indiana Tech in tomorrow's 12 p.m. championship game. Indiana Tech topped No. 3 Missouri Baptist 21-11 in Friday's second semifinal.
Against Shorter (9-6), Tennessee Wesleyan erased an early deficit with a 7-0 first half run and kept the Lady Hawks at a distance for the rest of the game to earn a berth in the league's first-ever championship match.
Sasse and Walsh were major contributors to the first half spurt, as Sasse netted three goals and Walsh a goal and an assist during the run that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 9-3 lead with 10:26 left until halftime.
After Shorter's Rachel Skinner scored to draw the Lady Hawks to within 9-4, Walsh scored two of her team's final three goals to end the half and send Tennessee Wesleyan into halftime ahead 12-4.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Walsh scored twice more and Sasse on more time to seal the semifinal victory. The Lady Bulldogs outscored Shorter 5-3 in the second half as all three Lady Hawk strikes came from Katie Ott, who led her squad with four goals.
Tennessee Wesleyan, which had posted a narrow 13-12 victory over Shorter on April 11 in each team's National Women's Lacrosse League finale, scored the game's first two goals, but Shorter stormed back with goals from Whitney Dixe, Ott and Aiste Pranciliauskaite to take a 3-2 lead with 21:25 left in the first stanza.
Sasse responded under a minute later, however, with her second goal of the game to spark the 7-0 run and after Kimberly Leuthold scored with 18:34 left to put Tennessee Wesleyan back into the lead at 4-3, the Lady Bulldogs never trailed again.
Tennessee Wesleyan held a 44-20 advantage in shots and a 55-44 edge in ground balls. Emily Clevenger added four goals and an assist for the victors, who posted the victory despite an 0-for-9 showing in free position opportunities.
Shorter will square off with Missouri Baptist on Saturday at 10 a.m. on Ben Brady Field in the tournament's third place game.