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.
The final day of March has arrived – can you believe it?
I can’t, but what I can say is it has been a busy few weeks in the NCAA D-III lacrosse world – hopefully, you have stopped by to read our various player perspective interviews, along with our weekly notebooks this month! – but before we usher in a brand new month, along with the second half of the season, I thought we could revisit some of the storylines (and yes, headlines, too) from the past few weeks.
Salisbury University Women’s Lacrosse is off to a fast start
Let’s begin with Salisbury University, specifically the women’s team, which recently scored its eighth-straight win, as well as its third conference victory. The Sea Gulls are averaging 15 goals per game – so far, they have deposited 124 shots – and appeared to be in mid-season form earlier this month when they beat The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), 14-8.
Seniors Alexis Strobel (12 goals and 37 assists), Lydia McNulty (21 goals and three assists), and Julie Talbert (11 goals and two assists) have highlighted the Sea Gulls’ impressive attack, which has also received a boost from sophomore Erin Scannell, who has recorded career-highs in goals (26) and points (27).
With five games remaining, the Sea Gulls appear to be the team to beat in the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) – one game to watch next month is Salisbury’s regular-season finale against St. Mary’s College, which has won three of four contests thus far. The Seahawks’ lone setback occurred earlier this month against Salisbury (14-10 setback).
John Carroll University boasts two NCAA D-III Goal Scorers
Skyler Blake and Colleen Grombala of John Carroll University are currently leading all NCAA D-III lacrosse players in goals – yes, I know this can change with games set to commence later today and this evening.
The Gents recently restarted their lacrosse program and defeated the University of Dallas earlier this month – the win is certainly a step in the right direction for the Maroon and White, which is currently the only NCAA squad in Louisiana.
As of this afternoon, Centenary boasts a 1-8 record but I’ll be rooting for them in their next two contests against Southwestern University and Dallas.
Averett University men’s lacrosse has shown improvements in its fourth season
The four wins are the most for the Cougars, who are scheduled to compete this Saturday, April 3 against William Peace University. This will be the first of two meetings between the two schools this season.
As of this afternoon, first-year Liam Taylor leads the Navy Blue and Yellow with 24 points on 18 goals and six assists.
Keep your eyes on Christopher Newport men’s lacrosse next month
The one-goal win over the Hornets was the first for Christopher Newport in four attempts (Lynchburg would even the season series six days later with a 12-5 win).
Despite a recent loss to Lynchburg, Christopher Newport has looked quite impressive this month – they are scheduled to face some challenging foes in Colorado College, Salisbury University, and Washington and Lee University over the next few weeks.
The Captains and Sea Gulls will square-off this Saturday, April 3 in Maryland with a face-off set for 4 p.m. I would highly recommend streaming the game.
The Washington and Lee women’s lacrosse team has won six-straight contests and will commence the second half of their schedule tomorrow when they visit Shenandoah University. After visiting the Hornets, the Generals will play four more contests before competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament.
The George Fox University women’s lacrosse team will enter the second half of their schedule with a 7-0 record – the Bruins recently scored back-to-back wins last weekend against Willamette University. Andrea Garcia-Milla highlighted her team’s seventh win with six assists to go with five ground balls and one caused turnover.
The first weekend of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action is set to commence this Saturday, April 3 with three contests. Trinity College men’s lacrosse will visit Connecticut College at 11 a.m. followed by Bates College women’s lacrosse visiting Colby College. Connecticut College women’s lacrosse will entertain Tufts University at 3 p.m.
SUNY Cortland men’s lacrosse will enter the month of April with a 2-1 record – they recently defeated Clarkson University, 11-9, thanks to four goals and one assist from Zak Jones.
It’s been an exciting few days for the University of Lynchburg women’s lacrosse team, which scored an impressive double-overtime win last Saturday against the University of Mary Washington before securing the final spot in this week’s Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA)D-III poll.
The Hornets’ win over the Eagles was their first in their last 13 attempts and should provide Lynchburg with some additional momentum heading into their next contest on Wednesday, March 24 against Christopher Newport.
Lynchburg’s 3-1 start is a testament to a trio of graduate students – Kelsi Trevisan, Carly Sandler, and Nicki Santora – who have combined for 44 points on 32 goals and 12 assists. Additionally, senior Leah Dumas has been a player to watch, especially last weekend when the Kennebunk, Maine native posted season-bests in points (five) and goals (four).
As a team, the Hornets are averaging 21.5 points per contest – they produced season-highs in goals (22), assists (11), and points (33) in their season-opener against Averett University last month before combining for 17 goals earlier this month against Meredith College.
Lynchburg is currently one of four teams in the Old Dominion Conference (ODAC) that has won at least three games thus far – Ferrum College has won four of seven matchups while Washington and Lee and Roanoke College each boast identical 3-0 records.
Washington and Lee, which is ranked third in the latest IWLCA poll, has also enjoyed a successful start to its 2021 campaign, as well, winning three-straight contests while averaging 22.00 goals per game.
The Generals, who are currently in first place in the ODAC, will look to extend their early-season winning streak to four games on Saturday when they visit Mary Washington for a 12 p.m. opening draw.
Allie Schwab is one of many players to watch on the Generals this season – she currently leads the Blue and White with 20 points on 10 goals and 10 assists, and is second in the ODAC in that same category behind Ferrum’s Erin Reynolds (16 goals and five assists).
Washington and Lee might be the favorite to win the conference crown later this spring, but Lynchburg is one of a few teams in the ODAC to watch over the next few weeks – the same could be said for Randolph-Macon College, Shenandoah University, and Roanoke College.
News and Notes from the NCAA D-III Lacrosse World
Franklin & Marshall is this week’s top team in the latest IWLCA Poll – the Diplomats, who were previously ranked second in the Top 25 coaches poll, will play their first game of the 2021 season next Saturday, March 27 against Ursinus College.
The Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team has enjoyed an impressive start to their 2021 season, winning five-straight contests, including back-to-back games against ranked opponents: Mary Washington and St. Mary’s (Md.). Salisbury will host The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Saturday, March 20 with opening draw set for 1 p.m. TCNJ enters the game with a 1-0 record.
As of this afternoon, it appears as if just two members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) will be playing games this spring. And they are the following: the University of Redlands and Chapman University. Both schools will play each other four times next month – it is possible we could see a fifth match-up on Saturday, May 1 – but as of now, the Bulldogs of Redlands will keep their focus on their initial foe of the 2021 season: Cal Lutheran University.
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.
The month of May, in my opinion, will always be associated with the sport of lacrosse.
It is a month that features a slew of college tournaments and championships to NCAA postseason runs that concludes on Memorial Day weekend.
But while the sport of lacrosse, as well as other games, remain sidelined for the moment, memories of games covered, including my first-ever New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament Final, is on my mind. And it is hard not to think back to that gorgeous day – May 6, 2012, to be exact – when Tufts University outlasted Bowdoin College, 9-8, in double-overtime.
At the time, I didn’t know much about lacrosse. I thought it was hockey on grass – maybe basketball, too – but it was a sport I grew to love from watching a talented Tufts team (and program), which had won its first-ever national championship two years earlier against Salisbury University.
I got my first glimpse of these Jumbos in mid-April of 2012 when Tufts rolled past Amherst College, 15-5. It was an impressive win.
Mike Daly, who was the coach of the Jumbos, told me neither he or his coaching staff anticipated his team was going to beat Amherst by ten goals on this particular afternoon. Instead, Daly, who is currently the head coach of the Brown University men’s lacrosse team, told me that his team “just put together a pretty complete effort today.” And that effort would certainly be on display weeks later when I covered Tufts’ dramatic win over a Bowdoin, which would conclude its 2012 campaign in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.
Bowdoin was a good team. They had scored some impressive conference wins in 2012, as well as some important non-league victories against Keene State and Springfield College. They beat Wesleyan University in the NESCAC quarterfinals before knocking off Trinity College in the semifinals shortly after Tufts topped Connecticut College.
Tufts had beaten Bowdoin prior to their championship meeting – the Jumbos topped the Polar Bears, 15-7, in Medford, Massachusetts, which made me think the young men who wore the powder blue, brown and white jerseys that day would duplicate that performance on the same field. But I was wrong.
Instead, I, along with fans and friends of each program, was treated to an amazing back and forth affair that saw Bowdoin erase a two-goal deficit during the final minutes of the fourth quarter to force not one, but two extra sessions.
Tufts had a chance to win the game in the first overtime but neither Nick Rhoads and Beau Wood were able to deposit their attempt past Bowdoin’s, Chris Williamson. Bowdoin would also have a chance to clinch the victory but watched Conor O’Toole‘s shot sail wide of the Tufts cage.
So, with the score still knotted at 8-8, we quickly advanced to a second overtime period. And like many, I wondered which team would score that game-winner? Would it be Bowdoin, since they seemed to have all the momentum, thanks to back-to-back fourth-quarter goals by Keegan Mehlhorn and Will Wise, or Tufts, which had not located the back of the net since the final seconds of the third quarter?
That question would be answered during the sixth and final period when Tufts scored on its third attempt of the session with 1:50 remaining. Beau Wood fired home the game-winner after receiving a pass from Geordie Shafer. And once the ball slipped past Bowdoin’s Chris Williamson, the Jumbos rushed the field to celebrate a hard-fought yet exhilarating win.
Indeed, the Jumbos did end it, but not until they forced their second turnover of the second overtime.
Tufts would advance to the NCAA semifinals two weeks later but saw their run toward a national title conclude against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons, which beat the Jumbos by a score of 12-10, would end up losing in the finals to Salisbury, who had beaten Tufts in the national title game one year earlier.
Sure, it was disappointing to see a team you had covered fall short of winning the ultimate prize, but I knew eventually this team (and program) would celebrate a championship in the future. And that they did. Tufts would win a pair of titles in the coming years, including their second national championship against Salisbury in 2014. They would also make a third-straight appearance in the championship game in 2016 but lose by one goal to the Sea Gulls of Salisbury.
Tufts will return to the title game again soon. But for now, I consider myself lucky to have covered and chronicled their various campaigns these past few years through NoontimeSports.com. I will always be thankful for the time both Mike Daly and his players provided me after the three contests I covered in 2012 and will continue to look back on this time fondly. I was a young journalist (and blogger), but also someone that wanted to learn more about a sport that I had only played once in my life. And because of Tufts, I am now an avid lacrosse fan, as well as a high school and middle school official here in Massachusetts.
I miss watching and covering games, especially on gorgeous days like today, but I do know better days are ahead for all of us, and they will certainly include exciting and dramatic one-goal victories.