Women's Lacrosse Continues Quest For Third NEC Championship Against Monmouth In NEC Championship Game On Sunday
EMMITSBURG, Md. - The Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team will battle third-seed Monmouth in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship Game on Sunday at Campus Field in Fairfield, Conn. Game time is 1 p.m. The winner of this match earns the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and will travel to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament champion next weekend. Top-seed Towson will face No. 2 James Madison in the CAA Championship Game on Sunday at 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.
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 fourth-seeded Mountaineers (8-10) advanced to the championship game after defeating top-seed and host Sacred Heart 7-4 on Friday to become the second Mount St. Mary's team and No. 4 seed to win a game in the tournament. Senior Jen Semler (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) posted two goals and an assist in the first half to help the Mount sprint out to a 5-0 advantage. Freshman Erin Seipp (Towson, Md./Notre Dame Preparatory) also found the twine twice while sophomore Lindsay Diaz (Timonium, Md./Dulaney), redshirt sophomore Kaitlyn Larrimore (Pylesville, Md./North Harford) and senior Esther Rufolo (Woodstock, Md./Chapelgate Christian Academy) each registered a goal in the contest. Senior goalkeeper Brigid McTavish (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) turned away 10 shots while sophomore Gabe Little (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) tallied five ground balls and three caused turnovers and senior Meaghan Conlon (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) had six ground balls and two caused miscues.
The Hawks (8-10) defeated second-seed Quinnipiac 9-4 in the other NEC semifinals on Friday to advance to their 10th NEC Championship Game. Sophomore Alex Marino paced Monmouth with two goals and two assists. Senior Sam Lillo added two goals and an assist while sophomore Kaleigh Gibbons and senior Olivia Salata also found the twine twice against the Bobcats. Freshman goalkeeper Katie Donohoe turned away nine shots in the semifinals.
The Mount (7-10, 6-3 NEC) is fueled by Larrimore, who leads the team with 31 goals and four assists for 35 points. Semler, an All-NEC second-team performer, ranks second on the team with 21 goals and 11 assists for 32 points while Seipp, a NEC All-Rookie team selection, is third on the squad with 23 tallies and eight helpers for 31 points. Little, an All-NEC second-team performer, fuels the defense with 26 caused turnovers and 36 ground balls and Conlon, an All-NEC first-team selection, ranks second on the team with 25 caused turnovers, 30 ground balls and 47 draw controls. Sophomore Lindsay Diaz (Timonium, Md./Dulaney), an NEC second-team selection, fuels the team with 62 draw controls while ranking third in both ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (16). McTavish has 122 saves, an 11.21 goals against average and a .399 save percentage.
Monmouth is powered by Marino, who has 32 goals and 13 assists for 45 points. Lillo, an All-NEC second-team selection, ranks second on the team with 37 goals and five assists for 42 points and Gibbons is third with 20 tallies and 19 assists for 39 points. Junior Gianna D'Urso, an All-NEC first-team selection, paces the defense with 32 caused turnovers and 35 ground balls while Lillo has a team-best 38 draw controls. Donohoe, a NEC All-Rookie team selection, has 143 saves, an 11.06 goals against average and a .423 save percentage.
The tilt between the Mount and the Hawks marks the 27th meeting in the all-time series dating back to the 1996 season, including the 10th time the two teams have met in the NEC Tournament and the fourth time in the NEC Championship Game. Monmouth leads the series 18-8, including three-straight wins. The Hawks are 6-3 in the NEC Tournament against the Mountaineers, but Mount St. Mary's is 2-1 in the league's championship game against Monmouth. The Mount downed the Hawks 11-10 in the 2004 NEC Championship Game and then defeated Monmouth 8-7 in the epic five-overtime 2005 NEC Championship Game before the Hawks rallied for a 9-8 victory in the 2007 NEC title match. The two teams met in the league's postseason every year from 1998-2007 with the exception of 2002 when Mount St. Mary's did not qualify for the NEC Tournament, but Sunday's game will mark the first meeting in the postseason between the two teams since the 2007 NEC Championship Game.
Monmouth won the regular season meeting 11-6 in the final regular season game of the year on Apr. 20. The Hawks scored the first three goals of the game to go on for the victory and to end the Mountaineers chances of hosting the 2012 NEC Tournament. Marino paced Monmouth with three goals and two assists while Salata registered a tally and four helpers and Lillo registered a hat trick. Seipp paced the Mount with two goals while Conlon, sophomore Hannah Gutcher (Hampstead, Md./Mount de Sales Academy) and Rufolo, an All-NEC second-team selection, also scored for the Mount. Donohoe made 11 saves for the Hawks and McTavish made seven saves for the Mountaineers.
Mount St. Mary's is making their 10th-straight trip and 14th conference tournament appearance overall. The Mount is 9-11 in the league postseason, including tournament crowns in 2004 and 2005. The squad is participating in its sixth NEC Championship Game after also playing in the title match in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2011. Mount St. Mary's is coach by second-year head coach B.J. Johnson, who has guided the squad to a 16-21 record in her two seasons.
Monmouth is making its 14th appearance in the NEC Tournament and is looking for its fourth NEC Tournament Championship. The Hawks are participating in the league championship game for the 10th time and for the first time since the 2007 season. Monmouth is 13-10 in the NEC Tournament with titles in 2001, 2006 and 2007. The Hawks are coached by Denise Wescott, who is in her third season in West Long Branch and has guided Monmouth to a 27-26 mark in her tenure. Wescott will be looking for her fourth conference crown after leading Delaware to the America East title in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Wescott, the 2007 NEC Coach of the Year, is 0-1 in the NEC Championship Game after falling to Monmouth 9-8 as the head coach of the Mount in 2007.