The Belmont Abbey women's lacrosse team scored the first six goals of the game and never looked back in an easy 9-2 win over Erskine this afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Conference Carolinas Tournament. The Crusaders advance to Friday's noon semifinal at top-seeded Limestone as they improve to 9-5, while Erskine ends its season with a mark of 9-7.
Belmont Abbey controlled the game from the start as Katy Connery scored four goals on six shots while five other players had one each. Kassie Easter and Ariel Walker both handed out two assists with Katelin Glass, Jordan Hofmeister and MacKenzie Miller all registering one.
The Crusaders kept Erskine off the board for the first 34:10 of the contest, including the entire first half as Reilly Johnson stopped four shots in the first half.
Easter opened the scoring just 46 seconds into the game as she took a pass from Walker for her only goal of the game.
That was all of the scoring for the next 16 minutes as Erskine kept possession of the ball and worked the clock, but Connery made it 2-0 at the 13:03 mark, which began a string of four Crusader goals to close the half.
Four minutes later, Easter set up Katelin Glass to extend the lead to 3-0, and 1:01 after Glass's strike, Easter found Gina Colella in front of the Fleet crease and her shot found the back of the next to up the edge to 4-0.
Connery gave the Crusaders a 5-0 halftime lead with 22 seconds left as Walker arced a high pass over the cage to the Crusaders co-captain, who swept home the shot for her second goal of the afternoon.
Belmont Abbey outshot Erskine 17-8 in the first half and won 16 of 24 ground balls.
Connery began the second half the same way she ended the first, netting her third goal of the afternoon with the assist going to Miller for a 6-0 lead.
Erskine broke the Abbey's string as Samantha Burns, the national leader in goals, put the Fleet on the board at the 25:50 mark.
Almost four minutes later, Connery got that goal back with her last marker of the afternoon, taking a feed from Glass and scoring the Abbey's seventh goal of the day.
Erskine added another with 16:56 to go, but the Abbey finished the scoring with two more, as Miller struck at the 12:52 mark followed by Walker's winner with two seconds left.
For the game, the Crusaders outshot Erskine 30-16 and won the ground ball battle 31-20. Connery and Easter-ranked first and tenth nationally in ground balls, respectively-both scooped up six. Easter won four draw controls with Connery adding two.
The defense caused 14 of Erskine's 23 turnovers as Colella and Molly Schaefer both totaled four. Connery caused a pair.
Johnson stopped 10 shots, including both of Erskine's free position shots.