Gettysburg College will continue its postseason march on the friendly confines of Clark Field by hosting the regional round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship on Saturday and Sunday.
Top-ranked Gettysburg (18-1) will host a talented regional that features three of the top-10 teams in the country. The Bullets will square off with North Coast Athletic Conference champion Denison University (16-4) Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Saturday’s second regional semifinal will pit Old Dominion Athletic Conference champ and No. 2 Washington and Lee University (18-2) against No. 8 Wesleyan (Conn.) University (15-3) from the New England Small College Athletic Conference at 2:30. The two winners will meet in the regional championship Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Get the latest updates on the 2019 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship by following along with the live interactive bracket at https://www.ncaa.com/brackets/lacrosse-women/d3. This year’s field is made up of 42 teams, including 31 automatic qualifiers. Among those schools includes six that have won national championships (TCNJ, Middlebury, Gettysburg, Salisbury, Franklin & Marshall, Amherst) and six newcomers (Notre Dame, Westminster, Misericordia, Lebanon Valley, SUNY Canton, George Fox).
Gettysburg is a combined 13-2 against its three potential opponents this weekend. The Bullets have won all six meetings with Denison, including a 14-4 victory at Clark Field on March 3 of this season. Gettysburg and Washington and Lee have faced off in each of the last four campaigns and the Orange and Blue lead the series 6-2. The Bullets beat the Generals 11-9 at home on March 9. In its only meeting with Wesleyan in 2009, Gettysburg took down the Cardinals 12-8.
This year’s Gettysburg regional features four teams that have combined for 62 NCAA appearances. The Bullets have won their last 11 NCAA contests, beating top-ranked TCNJ 6-5 in the 2017 title game and taking down No. 4 Middlebury 11-9 for the championship last season. Gettysburg is making its 19th appearance on the national stage in the last 20 seasons. The team is 37-15 in the tournament and has advanced to the semifinals seven times. Denison is in the playoffs for the 21st time and is seeking its first trip to the national semifinals. The Big Red have never advanced out of the regional semifinals. Washington and Lee clinched a spot in the NCAA field for the 10th consecutive season and 19th time overall. The Generals reached the semifinals in 2017 and fell in double-overtime 5-4 to TCNJ. Wesleyan is making its third-straight NCAA appearance. The Cardinals won their first two games in 2018 before bowing out to Amherst 12-6 in the regional semifinals at Gettysburg.
Gettysburg avenged its only regular-season defeat with a 16-6 victory over No. 4 Franklin & Marshall in the finals of the Centennial Conference Championship. The win marked the Bullets’ league record 12th title. Nine of the team’s wins have come against top-20 foes including the current No. 2 (Washington and Lee), No. 5 (F&M), and No. 6 (York) teams in the country. Gettysburg reclaimed its spot atop the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association Division III Coaches’ Poll last week, marking the program’s eighth nod as the nation’s top team this spring.
The Bullets turned in a record-breaking performance in its NCAA opener against Westminster, tying the tournament record for points (44) and breaking the mark for assists (20) in the 24-1 win. Junior Liza Barr set a new tournament and program standard with 13 assists in the contest. Barr also broke the school record for assists for the second time this season and established a new program mark with 15 total points. The 2019 CC Attacker of the Year enters the regional one assist shy of Gettysburg’s single-season mark for assists and her 117 points are the most by a Bullet in 16 years.
Sophomore Kerry McKeever posted five goals, an assist, and eight draw controls against Westminster. McKeever leads the team with 60 goals and 19 free-position goals and ranks second in assists (26), points (86), and draw controls (81). Sophomore Bri Stokes has busted loose for at least three goals in eight of the last nine games, including a career-high seven against Haverford.
Junior Courtney Patterson was named the CC Midfielder of the Year and she paces the team with 94 draw controls. Patterson ranks third in school history with 240 draw controls. 2018 IWLCA Division III Player of the Year Steph Colson was limited by injury for much of the month of April, but she’s returned to form just in time for the postseason play. The two-time NCAA Championship MVP posted two goals, an assist, two ground balls, and five draw controls against the Titans.
Junior Claire Macatee and senior Bailey Pilder form the backbone of a Gettysburg defense that rates 12th in the country with a GAA of 6.95. Macatee was named first-team All-CC and has accounted for a team-best 31 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers, and 42 draw controls. Pilder, the national leader in save percentage in 2018, has posted a GAA of 7.96 and save percentage of .529, both of which rate 17th in the nation.
Head coach Carol Cantele ’83 has guided Gettysburg to all of its Centennial and NCAA titles. A four-time IWLCA Coach of the Year, Cantele ranks third among all NCAA coaches in career wins with 441 over 31 years. In 27 years leading the Bullets, she has posted a record of 418-108 (.795). As a student-athlete at Gettysburg, she helped lead the field hockey team to the institution’s first national title in 1980.
Denison continued its domination of the North Coast Athletic Conference, running off a perfect season record (8-0) and capturing the program’s 21st overall title with a 13-10 win over The College of Wooster in the tournament title game. The squad has put up 20 or more goals in seven games this year and has set program records for goals (339), assists (157), and points (496).
The Big Red opened NCAAs with a 19-6 win over Transylvania. Ten players found the back of the net with junior Kiely Noonan hitting for six goals and dishing out one assist. Noonan paces Denison with 53 goals and 79 points. Freshman Casey McTague has tossed in 46 goals, including 21 on free-position goals. Sophomore Liza Farnham has pumped in 40 goals to go along with 12 assists. Senior Maddy Heher has dished out a team-best 27 assists this spring.
Senior Jane Goodspeed is capping a record-breaking career for the Big Red. She is the program’s all-time leader in both caused turnovers (149) and draw controls (369) and has set single-season records with 167 and 50 caused turnovers this spring. Senior goalkeeper Hannah Magarian has logged a 9.43 GAA and .449 save percentage this season.
Head coach Amanda Daniels is Denison’s all-time leader in wins with a record of 85-29 over six seasons. She had led the Big Red to the NCAA playoffs each year she’s been at the helm and the team has won 16 or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history. Assistant Coach Maddie Coleman is a 2012 graduate of Gettysburg and helped the Bullets claim the institution’s first NCAA title in 2011.
WASHINGTON AND LEE OVERVIEW
Washington and Lee is riding a school-record tying 15-game winning streak entering this weekend’s regional. The Generals are the only other Division III program other than Gettysburg to sit atop the IWLCA rankings this spring, spending four weeks at the top before giving way to the Bullets in the final regular-season ballot. The team swept through the Old Dominion Athletic Conference with a perfect record (9-0) and disposed of Shenandoah (20-9) and Randolph-Macon (17-7) in the league playoffs.
Washington leads Division III with just 11.65 turnovers per game and the team ranks seventh in scoring offense at 17.2 goals per game. The Generals have tallied at least 15 goals in their last 11 contests. Senior Haley Tucker was tagged the ODAC Offensive Player of the Year and has put up 83 points on 67 goals and 16 assists. Tucker, who also leads the team with 89 draw controls, has scored at least two goals in every game she’s played this spring, including seven against both York and Shenandoah. Freshman Katherine Faria was named the ODAC’s top rookie and has tallied 46 goals and 15 assists. Sophomore Landon Shelley has dished out a team-best 53 assists this season, including at least two in her last 11 outings.
Junior Caitlin Anderson anchors a W&L defense that rates 20th in Division III in goals against average at 7.30. The ODAC Defender of the Year, Anderson has racked up 36 ground balls, 22 caused turnovers, and 70 draw controls. Junior goalie Elliot Gilbert has started 18 games and posted a GAA of 8.00 and save percentage of .431.
Brooke Diamond O’Brien was named ODAC Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her 12 years at the helm. She has guided Washington and Lee to a 183-53 (.775) overall record, 11 conference titles, and 11 trips to the national playoffs. In 2017, O’Brien led the Generals to their first trip to the NCAA semifinals.
Wesleyan returns to Gettysburg for the regional round for the second consecutive season. The Cardinals have eclipsed their program record for wins in each of the last three seasons, setting a new mark with 15 this spring. The team also went 8-2 in the NESCAC with its only setbacks at the hands of Middlebury (8-7) and Tufts (17-10). Wesleyan also fell to the Jumbos in the conference semifinals 11-8.
The Cardinals knocked off No. 9 Mary Washington 11-6 in the NCAA second round last week. Wesleyan ran off a 5-0 run with 25 minutes to play to blow the game open. Junior Abby Manning posted three goals and two assists and junior Julia Gretsky notched three goals and one assist. Manning was named first-team all-conference and has tallied school records with 70 points and 61 goals. She has scored a goal in all but one game this season, including six against both Stevens and No. 12 Trinity. Senior midfielder Abigail Horst joined Manning on the all-league team and has tallied 44 goals, 65 draw controls, and 18 caused turnovers.
Junior goalie Allegra Grant has tallied double-figure saves in six of her last eight games, including 13 in a 6-5 win over Hamilton. Grant, who was also an All-American in ice hockey this past winter, was named All-NESCAC First Team and enters the regional with a GAA of 7.74 and a save percentage of .488. Senior defender Caroline Sgaglione leads the team with 32 caused turnovers to go along with 30 ground balls and 56 draw controls. Sgaglione was named all-conference first team for the third consecutive season and is a two-time All-American.
Wesleyan has qualified for the national playoffs in each of the last three seasons under Head Coach Kim Williams. After guiding the team to a 5-9 record in her first season, Williams has led the team to a 38-16 record in the last three campaigns.
On the line this weekend is a trip to the national semifinals and championship hosted by Randolph-Macon College May 25-26 in Ashland, Va. Gettysburg has made seven previous trips to the national semifinals, while Washington and Lee’s only appearance came in 2017. Denison and Wesleyan are vying for their first trips to the final four.