GETTYSBURG, Pa. – The eighth-ranked Wesleyan women's lacrosse team defeated the two-time defending national champions and No. 1 Gettysburg on the road Sunday, 10-7, to advance to the Final Four of the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship. The Cardinals trailed 2-0 early but rallied and had to battle two lightning delays en route to their first-ever Quarterfinal victory.
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Wesleyan (17-3) was led by Abby Manning's game-high seven points on four goals and three assists, while Allegra Grant was excellent in net once again as she made 10 saves. The Cardinals will face NESCAC rival and No. 3 Middlebury in the Semifinals on Saturday, May 25 on the campus of Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Va. with a game time to be determined. The Bullets, who were led by Kerry McKeever's three goals, end their season with a 19-2 overall record while having their 10-game win streak snapped.
The Cardinals' road to the Final Four featured wins over the No. 9, No. 2, and No. 1 teams in the country while defeating the top-two teams on consecutive days. Sunday's meeting against Gettysburg was just the second-ever between Wesleyan and the Bullets, and first since 2009. The game lasted four hours due to two lightning delays.
- Gettysburg came out strong and took an early 2-0 lead within the first 10 minutes of action.
- With 18:53 on the clock, Manning fired one into the top right corner for the Cardinals' first goal of the game. Just over two minutes later, Wesleyan evened the score as Manning found Kat Cucullo, who was surrounded by defenders, but the sophomore powered through and sent a low shot into the back of the net.
- After several minutes of scoreless action, Gettysburg regained a lead with a player-up score from Lauren Cole. However, the Bullets would not score again the rest of the half.
- Wesleyan closed out the first on a 4-0 run which began at the 8:45 mark. Manning tied the game at 3-3 with a quick high fake, before sending her shot low into the back of the net.
- Two minutes later, Manning scored again, hitting from just inside the eight-meter mark into the lower left corner to put Wesleyan on top for the first time, 4-3.
- Caitlin Wood increased the Cardinals' lead to two with 2:19 remaining, and with just 10 seconds left to play in the half, Cucullo found the back of the net to give the visitors a 6-3 halftime lead.
- Gettysburg scored two quick goals to start the second half and cut the deficit to one following a player-up score from McKeever at the 28:07 mark.
- Three minutes later, Manning found the back of the net once again, but the Bullets responded with 20:35 to play as McKeever cut the deficit to one. Shortly after, lightning delayed the game for roughly 30 minutes.
- After the delay, Wesleyan scored shortly after as Johanna Copeland ran to the right and shot across her body to the bottom left corner.
- Minutes later, Wesleyan increased its lead to three as Wood fired a shot between the goalie's legs.
- The Cardinals held a 9-6 lead at the second lightning delay with 4:25 on the clock, which lasted an hour and 25 minutes. The delay didn't slow down the Cardinals, however, as they came out strong and scored shortly after as Prokupek found the back of the net to increase the lead to four with 2:35 to play, essentially sealing the victory.
- Gettysburg cut the deficit to three just seconds later, but there wasn't enough time for the home team to mount a comeback as Wesleyan's stifling defense remained resilient.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Cucullo and Wood each scored twice, while Prokupek registered three points on one goal and two assists. Jordan Ansell, Abigail Horst, and Caroline Sgaglione each caused two turnovers and Sgaglione led all players with seven groundballs.
- Liza Barr scored twice and assisted on another for Gettysburg, while Steph Colson led the defense with three caused turnovers. McKeever led all players with seven draw controls and goalie Bailey Pilder made six saves in net.
- The Bullets held a slight 23-20 edge in shots but went just 1-6 on free position shots as Grant continued her strong play between the posts.
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR MIKE WHALEN '83:
"I'm very proud of Coach Williams, her staff, and the team on their performance this weekend. Advancing through, what was clearly the most challenging bracket, is an amazing accomplishment -- not just for our women's lacrosse program but for our entire athletics department."