Mass. College Lax: Amherst Looks To Capture First Crown Since 2003

By Matt Noonan 

Amherst College’s women’s lacrosse team will look to capture its first national title this weekend since defeating NESCAC foe Middlebury, 11-9, in 2003 at St. John Fisher.

In order for the Jeffs to reach the championship on Sunday, they’ll have to defeat Salisbury, who captured their second Division III crown last season with a 12-5 win over Trinity (Conn.).

Tomorrow’s semifinal matchup, which will take place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, will be the fourth meeting between the Jeffs and Sea Gulls, according to the Salisbury website/game preview. Their last meeting occurred in 2007 with Salisbury claiming an 11-4 win.

“Postseason – it’s about execution (and) it’s about decreasing your unforced errors and it’s about just playing smart,” Amherst head coach Chris Paradis said in an interview following the Jeffs’ 8-5 win over TCNJ last weekend. “I think we’re doing that.

“We’ve been talking about (how) every game is going to get more challenging from here on in, so you’ve got to increase your ability to read a situation and make sure you’re making the right decision before you have the ball leave your stick.”

The Jeffs, who commenced their current campaign winning 14 straight contests, have won 19 games this season, a program-record (their most wins in program history was 18, which was set by the national championship unit from 2003). Amherst punched its ticket to the NCAA Division III semifinals by defeating TCNJ in the quarterfinals, York in third round and Bridgewater State in the second round. The Jeffs earned a first-round bye, as well as an automatic bid to the playoffs.

According to the weekend preview, which can be accessed on the team’s athletic page, Amherst has participated in the NCAA Tournament 11 times, including this season. They’re 22-9 in postseason play and making their first trip to the semifinal round since 2004.

Rachel Passarelli leads the Purple and White in points (52) on 41 goals and 11 assists, while Krista Zsitvay, who’s registered 51 points in 20 contests, ranks first in goals (43). Against TCNJ, Zsitvay led all scorers with four markers. She recorded three points against York and Bridgewater State, netting two tallies and assisting on one strike in both contests.

Amherst has outscored their opponents this postseason, 40-12, and averaging 13 goals per game. They’ve also outshot their foes, 71-39. Goaltender Christy Forrest has turned away 20 shots, including 11 against York.

Excluding their point leaders, the Jeffs will lean on their senior class this weekend, according to Paradis, who commended each player for their effort this season, both on and off the field.

“I think they’ve set the tone all year,” said Paradis. “They’ve held each other accountable, they’ve set the bar high in terms of their leadership of vocally and how they carry themselves, and they’ve just all been just phenomenal – phenomenal leaders just right down the line, all five of them.”

The Amherst senior class is made up of Zsitvay, Alex Philie, Annelies O’Dea, Caroline Holliday and Elizabeth Ludlow.

Salisbury, which is ranked second in the nation, is making its seventh appearance in the semifinals in the last eight seasons. They’ve won championships in 2010 and 2013, but came up short in 2012 against the Bantams. The Sea Gulls concluded their regular season slate undefeated for the 12th consecutive year, and earned postseason wins against Farmingdale State, Augustana (Ill.) and Franklin & Marshall.

The winner advances to Sunday’s championship against SUNY Cortland or Trinity at 2:30 p.m. The Bantams and Red Dragons will meet in the first semifinal contest, which is scheduled for 1 p.m.

“I think all along this season we knew we had something special,” said Paradis. “We knew it was within our grasp (of reaching the semifinals). The challenge was to stay focused; one game at a time and this team has managed to do that. They’ve played with a lot of heart and a lot of determination.

“It’s a dream, but at the same time I think we knew it was also definitely that was something realistic for us.”

Quick Note: Quotes for this post were courtesy of the Amherst College Athletic Department’s YouTube Channel (AmherstSports). The video was ‘Amherst vs. TCNJ.’

Mass. College Lax: Saturday Afternoon Roundup (#d3lax)

By Matt Noonan 

There were a slew of conference tournament contests that took place this afternoon, along with some regular season finales, and below is their outcomes and summaries.

Men’s Lacrosse

Salve Regina 10, Wentworth 8: Nick LoCicero and Curtis McKeon netted back-to-back tallies in the fourth quarter, which pushed the Seahawks ahead for good. Steve Glover, who recorded four markers for Wentworth, brought the Leopards within one goal with 2:37 remaining, but Salve Regina responded with Chad Hollenshade to seal the win. Salve Regina will continue Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play on Wednesday when they travel to Endicott College for a semifinal matchup. 

Roger Williams 22, Gordon 11: Will Siefert netted six goals, Tim Kelly recorded seven points on four tallies and three helpers as the Hawks defeated the Fighting Scots in the first round of the CCC tournament. Roger Williams advances to the semifinals on Wednesday where they’ll take on Western New England in Springfield. Gordon’s Ryan Utz matched McKeon with seven points on six goals and one assist. 

MIT 8, Mass. Maritime 6: Paul Orrson recorded five points on three tallies and two helpers, Harris Stolzenberg registered two goals and two assists as the Engineers concluded its regular season with a victory over the Buccaneers. MIT will travel to Babson College on Wednesday to face-off against the Beavers in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinals. Reed McLean paced Massachusetts Maritime Academy with two markers.

Springfield 14, Babson 3: Ryon Lynch and Dylan Sheehan combined for five goals and seven assists as the Pride defeated the Beavers and claimed the top spot in the NEWMAC. Springfield will host Clark University on Wednesday in the NEWMAC semifinals. John HarrisonAlex Bunick and Spencer Low each scored one goal for Babson.

Tufts 24, Colby 9: Chris Schoenhut and Cole Bailey combined for 12 goals and four assists as the Jumbos cruised to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semifinals, which will take place in Medford next weekend.

Williams 13, Middlebury 9: Jack Lauroesch recorded five points on three goals and two assists as the Ephs defeated the Panthers and advanced to next weekend’s NESCAC semifinals.

Amherst 13, Bowdoin 6: Quinn Moroney recorded 10 points on seven helpers and three strikes, while Kane Haffey scored a game-high six goals as the Lord Jeffs defeated the Polar Bears and advanced to next weekend’s NESCAC semifinals. 

Women’s Lacrosse:

Emmanuel 17, St. Joe’s (Maine) 7: The Saints claimed the GNAC crown thanks to a 7-0 run in the second half that helped the hosts push ahead for good. Kristen Tuleja paced the Saints with nine points on six tallies and three helpers, while Sarah Higgins finished with three goals and one assist. Emmanuel’s Lauren White concluded the championship tilt with 11 saves. Emmanuel, which earned its first-ever conference crown, earned an automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Division 3 Tournament, but won’t know their opponent until next weekend .

Wheaton 15, MIT 5: Jenna Tewksbury recorded four points on three goals and one assist as the Lyons defeated the Engineers for the first time in the NEWMAC Tournament since 2001. Hannah Levy paced the Engineers with a hat trick. The Lyons will contend for the conference crown tomorrow when they host Babson College at 1 p.m.

Babson 9, Springfield 7: Leading by one goal late in the second half, Babson’s Rachel Secrist secured her team’s NEWMAC semifinals victory with her fourth tally of the contest at 3:08. The Beavers, which led the Pride at halftime 5-2, will compete in its eighth straight conference championship tomorrow against Wheaton. Secrist led Babson with six points on four markers and two helpers, while Springfield’s Connie Nielsen match her opponent with six points on three strikes and three assists.

Amherst 11, Bowdoin 5: Meghan Mils netted a hat trick, Caroline HollidayPriscilla Tyler and Krista Zsitvay each scored two goals as the Jeffs defeated the Polar Bears and advanced to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semifinals next weekend. Amherst will meet archival Williams in the second game, which is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. The site for this year’s NESCAC semifinals is Trinity College.

Williams 11, Tufts 6: Bridget Malicki registered five points on three helpers and two tallies, while Rebecca McGovern netted a hat trick as the Ephs defeated the Jumbos in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. With the win, the Ephs advance to next Saturday’s conference semifinals. Tufts’ Lindsey Walker finished the contest with four points on three goals and one helper.

Gordon 12, Curry 7: Jane Dietrich recorded four points on three goals and one helper, Jessica Castelline netted a hat trick and the Fighting Scots defeated the Colonels in the CCC Quarterfinals. Haley Carey paced Curry with five points on four goals and one assist. Gordon will travel to Endicott College on Wednesday for the CCC semifinals. 

Mass. College Lax: Saturday Afternoon/Evening Scoreboard

By Matt Noonan 

There were some very important conference games that occurred this afternoon and below is our afternoon and evening roundup.

Men’s Lacrosse 

Yale 11, Harvard 10 – Despite two late tallies each by Ian Ardrey and Jack Walker, the Crimson still couldn’t complete their comeback as the Bulldogs defeated Harvard in Cambridge. With the loss, Harvard’s season concludes with a 6-8 overall mark.

No. 7 Merrimack 16, Assumption 11 – Greg MeLaugh tied a school-record with nine goals in three quarters as Warriors defeat the Greyhounds and claimed a share of the regular season Northeast-10 crown with Adelphi.

Roger Williams 9, Wentworth 8 (OT) – Ian Powers scored the game-winner 3:08 in overtime to lift the Hawks past the Leopards in the first round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) tournament. With the win, Roger Williams advances to Wednesday’s semifinals against Western New England. Alec Paradis paced Wentworth with five points (three goals, two assists).

Norwich 9, Mount Ida 7 – Ian Thomas halted the Mustangs rally with his third strike of the afternoon at 1:20 in the fourth as the Cadets defeated Mount Ida and claimed the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) crown. Nick YacuzziMichael Markevich and Phil Pichel netted two goals, respectively, for Mount Ida.

No. 9 Tufts 14, Bate 10 – The Jumbos outscored the Bobcats, 7-2, in the third as Tufts defeated Bates and secured a spot in next weekend’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semifinals. Chris Schoehut led the Powder Blue and White with five goals, while Andrew Fiamengo finished with four goals.

No. 6 Middlebury 19, Amherst 9 – Jon Broome and Scott Redmond each scored two goals in the opening frame, which provided the Panthers the lead for good as Middlebury defeated Amherst and punched its ticket to the NESCAC semifinals. Devin Acton led Amherst with three goals.

UMass Dartmouth 11, Plymouth State 6 – Dennis Healy recorded four points (three goals, one assist), while Justin Lawless and Todd Davis each netted two strikes as the Corsairs defeated the Panthers.

Women’s Lacrosse 

University of New England 11, Gordon 10 – Hannah Tavella‘s 63rd goal of the season at 6:52 in the second lifted the Nor’easters past the Scots in the first round of the CCC tournament. With the win, UNE advances to Wednesday’s semifinals against Endicott College. Jessica Castelline led Gordon with six points (four goals, two assists).

Curry 14, Roger Williams 12 – The Colonels outscored the Hawks, 9-2, in the second half as Curry defeated Roger Williams and secured a date with Western New England on Wednesday in the CCC semifinals. Mel Brickley led Curry with five strikes, while Haley Carey and Deanna Monfredo each finished with hat tricks.

Babson 11, Wheaton 8 – Jameson Sprang netted the go-ahead goal with 5:30 remaining in the second as Beavers defeated the Lyons and punched their ticket to New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship. Charlotte De Santis led Wheaton with five points (three goals, two assists), while Sprang finished with a hat trick.

Springfield 14, Mount Holyoke 9 – Michelle DorseyColleen Keeley and Meghan Flanagan each recorded a hat trick as the Pride defeated the Lyons in the NEWMAC semifinals. Mount Ida’s Molly Macdonald led all scorers with four strikes.

No. 1 Trinity 12, Tufts 8 – First-year Molly Cox scored a career-high four goals as the Bantams defeated the Jumbos and secured a spot in next weekend’s NESCAC semifinals. Kerry Eaton led Tufts with three strikes.

No. 8 Colby 11, Amherst 3 – The Mules outscored the Lord Jeffs, 8-2, in the second half, which helped them secure a first round win the NESCAC tournament and spot in the semifinals. Caroline HollidayElizabeth Ludlow and Hillary Densen each scored one goal for Amherst.

Worcester State 14, Fitchburg State 13 (OT) – Jackie Connors netted two of her four goals during the extra session as the Lancers defeated the Falcons in their final regular season contest. Jessica Bartlett and Lindsey White paced Fitchburg State with five tallies, respectively.