Saliba Lifts F&M Over SUNY Geneseo in NCAA Regional Semifinals

SALISBURY, Md. -- Grace Saliba buried a pass from Ali Kelly with eight seconds left to deliver No. 7 Franklin & Marshall a 9-8 victory over No. 8 SUNY Geneseo in the regional semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament Saturday afternoon in Salisbury.  F&M  (17-5) will face No. 2 Salisbury tomorrow in the regional final at 1:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Final Four next weekend. 

Geneseo (17-3) dominated the second half and turned a 6-3 halftime deficit into a 7-6 advantage with four unanswered goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half. Brittney Jorgenson tied the game at 7-7 on a free position at the 10-minute mark and the Knights answered seven minutes later with a goal by Kate Hart to put Geneseo up 8-7 with a little over three minutes left in the game. 

Jorgenson struck again 45 seconds later on a free position to tie the game at 8-8, setting up an exciting final two minutes of action. The Knights won the ensuing draw and looked to take the last shot when Caroline Duran picked off a pass by Hart, giving the Diplomats the ball back with a little under a minute to play. F&M called a timeout and setup for the final shot. Ali Kelly took the ball with 15 ticks on the clock and rolled around the right side of the cage and found Saliba on the goalmouth and Saliba put the ball past the outreaching arms of the Geneseo keeper for the game winner. 

The Diplomats looked to have control early in the game and jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Caroline Krohn tallied the first three goals with two assists by Mitchell and the third by Saliba at 14:19 to make it 3-1. Kimberly Abruzzo fed Jorgenson from behind the net to make it 4-1 before the Knights answered at 6:47. 

Megan Kelly fired from eight meters out to put F&M up 5-2 before Hart picked up her second on free position to bring the Knights within two, 5-3, at 4:23. F&M answered with a little over a minute left in the first when Saliba found Jorgenson to make it 6-3 at the break.

Jorgenson finished with four goals, Krohn tallied three scores while Saliba and Megan Kelly each picked up a goal. Saliba and Mitchell dished out two helpers with Abruzzo and Ali Kelly each picking up an assist apiece for the Diplomats. 

Hart led the way for the Knights with five goals, Emily Haggert finished with a pair and Liz Felix struck once for Geneseo. 

Doran finished with a game-high four ground balls with two caused turnovers while Anastasia Mergner and Mary Mitchell both came away with three draws. 

Kelsey Hoffman improved to 15-5 with four stops and Laura Passamonte took the loss with eight saves. 

F&M outshot Geneseo 25-18 and won 11-of-19 draws, but the Knights held an 18-12 advantage in ground balls.