All five opening-round contests will take place at Colby College, along with eight second-round tilts, which will be played on either Saturday, May 8, or Sunday, May 9. Regionals – semifinals and finals – will also take place in Waterville, Maine on May 15 and 16 while additional matchups – second-round meetings, along with regional semifinals and finals – will occur on the campus of Washington and Lee.
33 teams secured automatic qualifiers for the 2021 NCAA D-III Women’s Lacrosse Championship while four squads – the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Carroll University (Wisconsin), Illinois Wesleyan, and Ithaca College – earned at-large bids. 14 teams enter the national postseason with perfect records, including Messiah College, which boasts an impressive 16-0 ledger.
The 37-team playoff will occur over the next three weekends with a champion being crowned on Sunday, May 23.
The 2020 NCAA D-III Women’s Lacrosse Championship was canceled last March due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Middlebury College captured the 2019 championship with a 14-9 win over Salisbury University, while Gettysburg College claimed the 2017 and 2018 titles.
“I had no idea what to expect going into that first game, especially against Babson,” said Sarnacki, who also recorded three caused turnovers and captured one draw control. “I wasn’t sure how their defense would come out, and if we would have to make adjustments if they threw a face guard (at us), but they just let us play and we were able to put the ball in the back of the net.”
While Sarnacki led all scorers with seven goals, Springfield received additional contributions from Taylor Pichel (three goals and one assist) and Katie Martel (three goals). First-year Maddy Roy recorded her first collegiate goal and classmate Colleen Browne picked-up her initial win between the pipes with seven saves.
Springfield’s opening-day win should certainly provide the Maroon and White with some momentum heading into their next few games – Springfield, as well as the Beavers, are playing a conference-only schedule this spring with each team competing in five contests. The Pride are currently one of three teams in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) that boasts a 1-0 record as both Coast Guard Academy and Wheaton College captured their initial contests of the 2021 season last weekend.
With four games remaining, Sarnacki, along with her teammates, know each matchup is critical in accomplishing their overall goal of winning a conference championship.
“I think it’s even more important with a shortened season because it sets the tone,” said Sarnacki, who has netted 115 goals in 44 contests with the Pride.
“In a normal season, the first half of your schedule is against non-conference opponents so you have time to figure out what works and what you need to adjust to prepare for conference play. This year, we don’t have that time or luxury, so scoring an opening-day win boosts our confidence as a team, but also fuels us to keep getting better every day because we know what we are capable of (doing on a weekly basis).”
Said Sarnacki, “We will definitely work to improve our transition game a little bit, and focus on discipline so we can limit our yellow cards on Saturday. Our main focus will be to continue improving all over the field while continuing to enjoy this opportunity to play together.”
After starting their season last spring by winning three of four contests, the Trinity College men’s lacrosse team has continued that momentum, winning back-to-back games this month against Castleton University and Endicott College. Dane Crowley highlighted the Bantams’ second win on Wednesday against the Gulls by capturing 22 of 28 face-offs while Reid McDonald recorded a season-high three goals and four points. Trinity will host Union College in a non-conference clash on Sunday, March 28 with face-off scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse team will attempt to score its second-straight win on Saturday when they host Muhlenberg College – the Bullets opened their shortened season last weekend with a 16-8 victory against Washington College. Bri Stokes, who played lacrosse locally at Lincoln-Sudbury, recorded her 100th career point in her team’s 2021 season-opener.
The 2021 season is off to a roaring start for the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team, which has tallied 56 goals in two contests.
The 56 tallies is the most the any team in program history has recorded in their first two contests, erasing the original mark of 55 goals from 2018.
Rick Smith has been one of many players to watch thus far – the Frankfort, Illinois native highlighted his team’s 24-7 win against the Milwaukee School of Engineering by netting a school-record nine goals on 17 shots to go with two assists. Smith also led the team in shots on goal (14) while scooping four ground balls.
In addition to Smith, IWU’s attack has been powered by Charles Hildestad and Griffin DeMilt, who have combined for 14 goals and seven assists.
IWU’s fast start is identical to previous seasons, which have culminated in a trio of College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) tournament titles, along with three trips to the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The Titans are currently one of three teams in their conference that boast a 2-0 record – the Green and White will attempt to win their third contest of the 2021 season on Sunday, March 14 when they visit Rhodes College.
Keelan, who is in her fifth season with the Red and White, has guided the Lynx to 57 wins. Prior to arriving at Rhodes, Keelan coached Shepherd University (NCAA D-II) for four seasons.
The Washington & Lee women’s lacrosse team will return to the field literally one year after beating Gettysburg College on March 8, 2020.
The Generals, who enter the season ranked fourth on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA), will commence their 2021 campaign when they visit Ferrum College next Tuesday, March 9.
Three New England D-III conferences – Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), and New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) – have announced plans to play spring sports this season. Games are expected to begin later this month, but we do know the Wheaton College women’s lacrosse team will kickoff their campaign on Saturday, March 20 when they visit Clark University, according to their schedule release on Instagram.
The Lynchburg University men’s lacrosse team will attempt to win their third-straight contest of the 2021 season on Saturday, March 6 when they entertain Salisbury for a 12 p.m. face-off.
The Hornets have won back-to-back contests this season against Randolph and Southern Virginia – the team is averaging 21 goals per game.
More on the NCAA redshirt rule change from Sports Illustrated – this will certainly help coaches get first-year players even more ready for future success, both at the college and pro level.
On Thursday, the Maritime (N.Y.) Privateers announced on their Instagram account their captains for the upcoming season. Congrats to Payton Campbell, Liam Bailey and Dean Lynch – best of luck this season, gents!