OWINGS MILLS, Md. -The No.19-ranked Stevenson women's lacrosse team had six different goal scorers but No. 1 Salisbury scored four of the final five goals as the defending national champions avoided the upset defeating the Mustangs 8-6 Saturday afternoon at Mustang Stadium.
The Mustangs (0-2) jumped out to a 3-1 lead, the largest lead an opponent has had over Salisbury since York (Pa.) led 3-1 on Apr. 17, 2013. It is also just the second time the Sea Gulls have trailed by at least two goals since they trailed 4-0 to begin the 2012 National Championship game on May 20, 2012, the last game they lost.
The Sea Gulls (2-0) were also held to under 10 goals for just the sixth time since the start of the 2011 season.
Shelby Nemecek tied the game at one with a free position shot 8:38 into the game. The Sea Gulls were 3-for-7 on free position shots while the Mustangs finished 1-for-4.
Stevenson held a 3-1 lead after goals from sophomore Tori Wagner and Merrick before two-straight goals by Salisbury tied the game at three heading into the break.
An unassisted goal by senior Marissa Meiklejohn gave the Mustangs a 5-4 lead but the Sea Gulls scored three-straight including two by Shannon Carta, to reclaim the lead for good.
Senior Leah Warner scored her first goal of the season to cut the deficit back to one but Kate Haker pushed Salisbury's lead back to two with just under 2:55 remaining.
Bethany Baer won the ensuing draw control for the Sea Gulls as Salisbury was able to maintain possession for the final 2:55 of the game.
Merrick led the Mustangs with one goal and one assist while Carta led the Sea Gulls with four points on three goals and one assist.
Junior Leanne Bittner totaled seven saves while the reigning two-time National Goalie of the Year Ashton Wheatley also finsihed with seven.
Salisbury outshot the Mustangs 21-15 while also winning nine of the 16 draw controls. Both teams finished with 11 ground balls.
Stevenson returns to action on Saturday, March 1 when they host SUNY Brockport in game one of the Stevenson Classic beginning at 12:00 p.m.