EMMITSBURG, Md. - The Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team begins its quest for its third Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament title on Friday in Fairfield, Conn. The Mount comes into the tournament as the No. 4 seed and will face host and top-seed Sacred Heart. Match time is 1 p.m.
Prices are $8 for adults and $4 for those under 18/senior citizens. NEC students with a college ID and those under 10 years of age will be admitted free of charge.
In the other semifinal match on Friday, second seed Quinnipiac (8-7, 7-2 NEC) will battle the third seed Monmouth (7-10, 6-3 NEC) at 3:30 p.m.
Fans unable to attend the tournament will be able to watch all the action free of charge at northeastconference.tv. Sacred Heart will also be running live stats for the tournament at sacredheartpioneers.com. In addition, updates will be provided through @MountAthletics and @NECWLax on Twitter.
The Mount (7-10, 6-3 NEC) is fueled by redshirt sophomore Kaitlyn Larrimore (Pylesville, Md./North Harford), who leads the team with 30 goals and four assists for 34 points. Freshman midfielder Erin Seipp (Towson, Md./Notre Dame Preparatory) and senior attacker Jen Semler (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) are tied for second on the team with 29 points. Seipp has 21 tallies and eight assists while Semler, a 2011 All-NEC first-team selection, has 19 goals and 10 assists. Senior Meaghan Conlon (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) and Gabe Little (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) pace the defense with 23 caused turnovers apiece. Little also leads the team with 24 ground balls while Conlon ranks second on the squad in draw controls (46) and fourth in ground balls (24). Sophomore Lindsay Diaz (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) fuels the team with 57 draw controls while ranking third in both ground balls (26) and caused turnovers (16). Senior goalkeeper Brigid McTavish has 112 saves, an 11.43 goals against average and a .384 save percentage.
The Pioneers (8-8, 7-2 NEC) are led by junior attacker Emily Pepe, who paces the team with 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points. Senior midfielder Kate Kmiotek and senior attacker Aurelie Plujimakers are tied for second on the team with 40 points. Kmiotek has 20 tallies and 20 helpers while Plujimakers has 37 markers and three assists on the year. Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Russo fuels the defense with 20 caused turnovers, 35 ground balls and 56 draw controls. Senior goalkeeper Kelly Keenan has 153 saves, an 11.63 goals against average and a .450 save percentage.
The tilt between Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart marks the 18th meeting in the all-time series dating back to the 1998 season. The Mount has won the last two matchups in to take a 12-5 advantage in the series. The Pioneers are 5-3 against the Mountaineers in Fairfield. It will also be the third meeting in the NEC Semifinals between the two teams. Mount St. Mary's downed Sacred Heart 6-5 in 2004 and the Pioneers took a 14-5 decision against the Mount in 2010.
Mount St. Mary's defeated Sacred Heart 11-6 in the regular season meeting on Apr. 1. Diaz fueled the Mount with a career-high four goals and senior midfielder Esther Rufolo (Woodstock, Md./Chapelgate Christian Academy) added two goals. Pepe paced the Pioneers with a goal and two assists and Plujimakers found the twine twice. McTavish made six saves for the Mountaineers and Keenan turned away five shots for Sacred Heart.
Mount St. Mary's is making their 10th-straight trip and 14th conference tournament appearance overall. The Mount is 8-11 in the league postseason, including tournament crowns in 2004 and 2005. Mount St. Mary's is coach by second-year head coach B.J. Johnson, who has guided the squad to a 15-21 record in her two seasons.
Sacred Heart is making its 10th appearance in the NEC Tournament. The Pioneers are 5-7 in the NEC postseason with titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Sacred Heart is coached by Laura Cook, who is in her 13th season in Fairfield, Conn. Cook has guided the Pioneers to a 125-97 record in her 13 seasons.