Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MACON, Ga. - The Central Michigan lacrosse team made a late push.
But in the end, the hole was simply too deep as the Chippewas dropped a 13-10 decision to Furman on Thursday in a Southern Conference Tournament semifinal at Mercer's Five Star Stadium.
The loss ended CMU's season, by far its best in its three-year history. The Chippewas finished 11-7, setting a program record for victories. CMU was the No. 2 seed in the tournament, and was playing in the postseason for the first time.
And the Chippewas nearly mounted a historical comeback as they drew to 12-10 with just over five minutes remaining after they had trailed, 11-5, just minutes earlier.
"We finally started playing fast, aggressive towards the cage," CMU coach Sara Tisdale said. "The first half we were slow and we knew we had to play fast and make them overcommit on their help defense. We didn't execute fast enough soon enough."
Natalie Karlen and Shannon Doyle scored three goals apiece to lead the Chippewas, while Jocelyne Lemay and Emma Hamilton had two goals apiece. Karlen and Jessica Schuchardt finished with two assists each.
Doyle scored less than two minutes into the game to put the Chippewas in front, but Furman responded by scoring six of the game's next seven goals to seize a 6-2 advantage.
The Paladins' advantage twice reached six goals in the second half, the second time at 11-5 with under 11 minutes to play.
The Chippewas then mounted a late-game charge, scoring five goals in a less-than-five-minute stretch to draw within two, 12-10, with just over five minutes to play. Furman scored with 4:10 remaining and CMU was unable to find the back of the net the rest of the way.
"Late in the game we had a really unfortunate mental mistake that resulted in them getting the ball back (and scoring) after a huge (CMU) defensive stop," Tisdale said. "It kind of took the wind out of our sails. That's when they went up by three."
Abby Shields, Meg Lingo and Isabelle Walsh scored three goals each for Furman.
Dominique Hamman played 59-plus minutes in goal for the Chippewas and finished with nine saves. Furman netminder Friel recorded seven stops.
Furman finished with a 26-23 advantage in shots. CMU caused nine turnovers to the Paladins' seven and committed 15 turnovers to Furman's 12.
The Chippewa roster includes just one senior, Amber Crouse.
"Hopefully this'll be something that helps motivate us and really gives fire in our bellies," said Tisdale, whose team made the SoCon Tournament after coming up a game short of the postseason in each of the past two seasons when the Chippewas were members of the Atlantic SUN. "We've come so close. We've got to believe that this is part of the process, keeping in mind we're only a third-year program, and we'll be excited for the next time."
Furman, the No. 3 seed, will play host Mercer in Saturday's championship game. The fourth-seeded Bears upset top-seed and regular-season champion Detroit Mercy, 18-17, in Friday's first semifinal.