SALEM, Va. - Jackie Jahelka, the newcomer to the Adelphi women's lacrosse lineup, had heard plenty about what a thorn in the side LIU Post has been for her teammates over the past couple of years.
With the freshman attacker's help, some of that pain subsided in Saturday's NCAA Division II national semifinal. Her four first-half goals helped Adelphi take command against the two-time defending national champions on the way to a 17-10 victory.
Jahelka and her teammates will face Lock Haven at 2 p.m. Sunday at Kerr Stadium. Lock Haven, which edged Lindenwood, 10-9, in overtime has won 17 straight games.
"Everyone on our team today knew that this was a huge game," Jahelka said. "I owe it all to my fellow attackers. I wouldn't have gotten those goals if they hadn't passed the ball."
It was the 14th time this season that the top-ranked Panthers (21-0) scored at least 17 goals, a satisfying outcome considering the opponent.
LIU Post (18-2) eliminated Adelphi in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. And only twice before Saturday had a team managed to score as many as 10 goals against the Pioneers.
"That's been our game plan from the beginning," said senior attacker Devan Crimi, who had three goals and three assists. "We don't want to give anyone a chance to come back and have to deal with some close games like we did last year. If we can put a team away, that's what we'll do."
Midfielder Felicia Mills helped the Panthers control 11 of the 13 50-50 balls in the first half, as her team built a 9-3 lead. And Adelphi limited Post's Jackie Sileo, the leading career scorer in college women's lacrosse, to one goal and two assists.
Sileo said that though she did not get a lot of scoring opportunities, her team still had its chances; numerous attempts hit the posts. In the end, what had been a significant rebuilding year for Post fell one game short of a shot at another title.
"We definitely had some major spots that needed to be refilled after last year, more so than any other year," said Sileo, who ended her career with 195 goals and 369 assists. "Everyone stepped up and did just a little bit more, which is what we asked of them."
"It's game time now," Crimi said. "I don't want to lose again. I want to go all the way. I feel as a captain, leading by example is the best way to do it. Pass the ball and help the other girls score."