TOWSON, Md. — For the eighth time this season, Goucher was forced to play a majority of today's game a player down. Once again, however, the Gophers did not use that as an excuse, giving defending Landmark champions Susquehanna everything they could handle before ultimately suffering a 20-13 defeat to end their 2014 season.
Goucher (7-9, 2-4 Landmark) pulled within five goals of the Crusaders (10-4, 5-1 Landmark) before a late outburst from Susquehanna put the game out of reach. Erin Reifsnyder (Austin, Texas/St. Andrew's Episcopal) had six goals to lead the Gophers, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
"I'm extremely proud of all 12 of our girls," head coach Ceri Miller said. "We talked all year about numbers not being an excuse, and their hard work and determination to get better every day helped us to continue to improve all season long, despite our roster disadvantage. I couldn't be happier that this was my first team to lead as a head coach."
Dani McCreary (Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop McNamara) scored the first of her two goals on the afternoon two and a half minutes into the first half to give Goucher an early 1-0 lead, and the Gophers remained competitive throughout the game's opening 15 minutes. With the Crusaders holding a 4-3 advantage, McCreary and Reifsnyder fired in back-to-back markers to help Goucher regain the lead with 15:07 on the clock.
Susquehanna then rattled off six unanswered goals to open up a five-goal lead before a goal from Megan Meluskey (Wilmington, Del./Concord) stopped the bleeding with 6:45 remaining. The Crusaders would take a 12-6 edge into the intermission.
That lead was expanded to 17-10 after 10 minutes in the second half. Reifsnyder and Meluskey each scored to get the Gophers back within five, but they would get no closer.
Goucher struggled all day to contain Emma Ehler and Brynn Reid, who combined for 12 goals and two assists. Michelle McGinniss added three goals, three assists and 12 draw controls for the Crusaders, who had a 24-11 overall advantage on draw controls to help prevent a Gopher comeback.
Reifsnyder went out strong on her Senior Day, scoring a season-high six goals to finish with a team-high 44 on the year, a total which is fifth best in the conference. She also picked up her 20th assist, the most for a Goucher player since Colleen Cole had 21 back in the 2010 season.
Prior to today's contest, Reifsnyder and Hannah Mae Brown (Pinedale, Wyo./Dunn School) were recognized for their dedication to the program over the last four seasons.
"Erin and Hannah have been such good role models for the girls and just great examples of what Goucher lacrosse is all about," Miller said. "They have been key in changing the culture of the team. I'm excited for them and what they're going to accomplish after they graduate."
Brown finished her senior season with 34 goals, 18 assists and a team-high 60 draw controls despite missing a majority of the last two games.
Susquehanna, which clinched the two seed in the upcoming Landmark postseason tournament, ended today's game with a 40-19 advantage in shots. Emily Gill (White Hall, Md./North Harford) made a career-high 14 saves in goal for the Gophers. Meluskey recorded her third hat trick of the season, while Anneke Ossorio (Lafayette, Colo./Kent Denver School) chipped in two goals and an assist and Kat Carnevale (Portland, Ore./St. Mary's Academy) had a pair of caused turnovers.
Goucher concludes its season with a 6-2 record from Beldon Field. Susquehanna will host Drew in the Landmark semifinals on Wednesday in the conference's 2-3 matchup, while top-seeded Catholic will face off against No. 4 Scranton.