SALEM, Va. - The West Chester Golden Rams are knocking on the door again after holding off Lock Haven, 16-14, yesterday in an NCAA Division II women's lacrosse semifinal.
West Chester (19-1), winners of 10 straight games, will take on undefeated C.W. Post in the noon title match today. The 15-0 Pioneers, from lacrosse hotbed Long Island, were the only team to beat the Golden Rams this season, a 20-12 home loss on April 10 to the nation's No. 1-ranked team.
The Pioneers beat Stonehill College, 11-8, in the other semifinal yesterday.
West Chester senior attacker and cocaptain Chrissy Kane is back in the finals for one last time and still looking for that trophy.
"They play for blood," she said of the Pioneers. "I feel like we're a different team" from the one that lost on April 10.
With coach Ginny Martino at the helm, West Chester has been to the NCAA championship game in six of the seven years that there has been a Division II tourney for women's lacrosse. The Rams won it all in 2002 over Stonehill.
Their 19 wins this season is a school record and the second-most by any team in Division II history.
Yesterday's fourth victory of the season over the Eagles of Lock Haven was anything but a cinch for West Chester, which had beaten Lock Haven by seven, six and four goals previously. That including last week's Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship.
"I thought we got better and better each time we played them," Eagles head coach Kristen Selvage said.
Three goals in the first half by sophomore attacker Jackie Baker and two by Kane helped the Golden Rams to a 7-5 halftime lead.
After watching West Chester go up by five goals, 11-6, with 22 minutes, 7 seconds to play in the second half, Lock Haven fought back, outscoring the Rams, 6-3, over one stretch to pull to within 13-12.
"They have a tendency to score a cluster of goals," Baker said.
West Chester, ranked fourth nationally, sealed the deal with late goals from Mandy Masoner and Baker. The Rams then held on despite two scores 12 seconds apart from Lock Haven with about a minute to play. Baker and Stephanie Keinle had four goals for the Rams. Keinle has an NCAA-record 140 points this season.
The teams combined for 18 goals in the second half to set a tournament record, as were the 43 combined shots for the game. The 18 saves by West Chester goaltender Mary Beth Green, who was strong early and late, tied the NCAA Division II postseason mark.
Widener men lose. The Widener men's sixth NCAA Division III tournament appearance ended yesterday with a 16-8 loss at unanimous No. 1 Salisbury in the second round.
The Pride (13-6) saw their season-best five-game winning streak halted with just their second loss in the last 11 outings
Juniors Brian Stromko and Chris Matthews and senior Gavin Goane scored two goals apiece for Widener. Juniors Luke Weber and Cory Malampy each scored, and senior Andrew Johnson contributed 17 saves.