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Women's Lacrosse: Carroll natives hoping to win national title

Gettysburg College is looking for its second women's lacrosse national championship in four seasons, and a quartet of former Carroll County players are doing their part to make it happen.

The No. 6-ranked Bullets (17-2) are hosting a Division III regional, which means they're into the NCAA tournament's third round. Gettysburg faces Middlebury (12-5) on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., and another win moves the team closer to its ultimate goal.

"It's a lot of fun," said Mandy Buell, a junior attacker and Winters Mill High School graduate. "We're just having a lot of fun while we're doing it. The wins come, but it's about the team unity. We love to play lacrosse."

And they love to win.

The Bullets achieved their 20th consecutive winning season this spring. They earned their ninth Centennial Conference tourney title and third in a row. And they made their 13th straight NCAA tournament appearance and 14th overall.

Buell is a major contributor, with 40 goals and 19 assists. Her 59 points are second highest on the team, and she also has 19 ground balls and five caused turnovers.

Buell was named Centennial tourney MVP after scoring six goals in two playoff games, and said she was honored to receive the award. But she knew from the start of the year she'd be busier on offense for the Bullets, a role she accepted and thrived in.

"We lost some of our big scorers from last season, so I think I needed to step up on attack and contribute more," Buell said. "I really worked a lot on my shooting and feeding this year."

Buell scored twice in Gettysburg's 9-5 win over Franklin & Marshall in the Centennial final, then added two goals and two assists in the Bullets' 19-6 win over Cabrini in their NCAA opener.

Senior attacker Bailey Beardsley, a Francis Scott Key graduate, scored twice against Cabrini. Beardsley is one of Gettysburg's top reserves with 14 goals and six assists in six starts.

Sophomore midfielder Amanda Borucki, a North Carroll grad, has 17 goals and nine assists in six starts as another key reserve.

The Bullets also feature senior defender Kelly Spieker, another Winters Mill alum, who has 19 starts in her final season and shares the team lead in ground balls with 29.

Gettysburg held a ceremony Thursday for its six seniors who will miss Sunday's college graduation - Beardsley and Spieker were part of the group recognized - should the Bullets beat Middlebury and play in the regional final against either Fredonia or Trinity. That game is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. at Gettysburg.

"I feel like most of it's excitement," said Spieker, who played field hockey and lacrosse for four years at Gettysburg. "We really don't have a lot of nerves right now."

Spieker said hosting the regional this weekend is special, and she knows a trip to the national title game will also be at Gettysburg's Clark Field. Either way, she's about to begin her final college lacrosse experience.

"I'm sad to see it end," said Spieker, who scored seven goals in field hockey last fall. "I'm just so happy with everything that I did here at Gettysburg."

Gettysburg won its only national title in 2011, when Beardsley and Spieker were freshmen, and has made five semifinal trips in the last eight seasons. The Bullets have also become a Centennial powerhouse, with all nine tournament titles coming since 2000.

Spieker said the Bullets are close on and off the field, a trait that serves them well come playoff time. And it's time.

"We just keep telling ourselves, we need to win one game four times and we're there," Buell said. "We've worked so hard for so long, so why not leave it all out there on the field?"

NOTE: Salisbury (19-1), which fields former county standouts Bethany Baer (Westminster), Kate Haker (Westminster), and Shelby Nemecek (Liberty) hosts Augustana (19-0) on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The Sea Gulls are ranked second in the most recent national poll.

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