CLAIRE ON THE CHARGE — Gettysburg College junior Claire Macatee carries the ball during a game against Washington College last weekend. The Bullets face the Shorewomen in the Centennial Conference Championship semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Franklin & Marshall.

It will be a bit of déjà vu for the Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse team as it begins its postseason run this weekend as the second-ranked Bullets open with No. 24 Washington College in the Centennial Conference Championship semifinals hosted by Franklin & Marshall College on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Gettysburg (15-1, 8-1 CC) battles Washington (12-5, 7-2 CC) in the semifinals at Franklin & Marshall (14-3, 9-0 CC) for the second consecutive season. The semifinal showdown will also take place one week removed from the Bullets’ 16-13 victory over the Shorewomen to close out the regular season.

Saturday’s first semifinal will pit the Diplomats against Haverford College (10-7, 4-5 CC) at noon. The Fords took down No. 22 Dickinson College 11-10 in the first round of the playoffs Wednesday night.

The two semifinal winners will square off for the conference title at Shadek Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.

Last season, Gettysburg took down Washington 17-9 in the semis and dispatched host F&M 15-7 in the finals on the way to its 11th overall conference title. The Bullets have qualified for every CC Championship since the event was established in 2001 and the team has advanced to the final game in all 18 appearances. Gettysburg has also claimed the last two conference tournaments hosted by F&M in 2016 and 2018.

Washington is making its 12th trip to the postseason and is looking to win a semifinal game for the first time. The Shorewomen made the championship in 2012 after Franklin & Marshall withdrew from the postseason. Washington is coached by former Gettysburg assistant coach Kate Fowler, who helped the Bullets claim three CC titles and two NCAA Division III Championships. All but one of the team’s five victories came against teams ranked among the top 10 in the country.

Franklin & Marshall clinched the tournament’s top seed and hosting rights with a 9-6 win over then-No.1 Gettysburg on April 3. The Diplomats have won their last eight contests and will try to capture their eighth conference title. F&M has not won a conference title on its own turf since 2011. The team has faced down 10 nationally-ranked squads and won seven of those meetings.

Haverford avenged a loss in the first round to Dickinson in 2018 by beating the Red Devils on their own turf earlier in the week. The Fords are making their seventh trip to the postseason tournament and are looking for their first championship appearance. Haverford took down third-ranked TCNJ in its second game of the season and has won four straight entering Saturday’s semifinals.

Gettysburg, which swept both the conference and national titles for the first time in 2018, heads into the weekend riding a six-game winning streak. The Bullets have taken down seven nationally-ranked teams this season, including current No. 1 Washington and Lee University 11-9 on March 9.

Junior Liza Barr leads the team and the conference with 95 points this season. Barr has poured in 41 goals and 54 assists, while shooting a blistering 71.9 percent from the field. Sophomore Kerry McKeever leads the team with 48 goals and has put up 23 assists, while classmate Bri Stokes has tossed in 39 goals. Junior Courtney Patterson has put up 31 goals and eight assists.

After sitting out several games due to injury, reigning NCAA Division III Player of the Year and last year’s CC Championship MVP Steph Colson has returned to the fold and carries 20 goals and 16 assists into the weekend. Colson, McKeever, and Patterson form the top draw squad in the conference with an average of 15.9 draw controls per game.

Gettysburg’s defense rates atop the league in both goals against average (7.31) and save percentage (.550). Senior goalie Bailey Pilder has turned in an 8.28 GAA and .526 save percentage on the year. Juniors Claire Macatee and Daphne Budd have combined for 46 ground balls and 25 caused turnovers for the defensive unit.

Head coach Carol Cantele ’83 has led Gettysburg to 11 conference titles and three national titles since assuming the helm in 1993. Cantele is 414-108 (.793) in 27 seasons at Gettysburg and she ranks third among all NCAA coaches with 438 career victories.

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