NO. 1 MOUNT ST. MARY'S (15-2, 7-0 NEC) vs. NO. 4 BRYANT (8-8, 4-3 NEC)
Thursday, May 2 | 2:00 p.m.
Emmitsburg, Maryland | Waldron Family Stadium
SETTING THE SCENE
The top-seeded Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team will host No. 4 seed Bryant in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Semifinals this Thursday, May 2 at Waldron Family Stadium at 2 p.m. The winner will advance to the NEC Championship game on May 4 at noon.
Tickets will be available the day of the game at the front gate of Waldron Family Stadium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for those under 18 and senior citizens. All NEC students with an institutional I.D. will be admitted free of charge.
INSIDE THE SERIES
The Mount and Bryant will meet in a rematch of last year's NEC Semifinals, but this time with the seeds reversed. Last season's playoff matchup resulted in a 9-8 victory for the top-seeded Bulldogs, as they held off a late fourth-quarter rally by the Mountaineers and came away with the narrow win. Alayna Pagnotta and Carly Miller led the Mount on the offensive end with two goals apiece, while Jillian Petito made 13 saves in goal.
Bryant owns a slight 6-5 advantage in the all-time series against the Mount, including a 3-2 mark in Emmitsburg. In the regular season matchup between the teams this year, Mount St. Mary's cruised to a 19-8 victory in Smithfield behind 18 combined points from Kate Kinsella, Jordan Butler and Carly Miller. Kinsella registered a career-high seven points on three goals and four assists to lead all point scorers in the contest. Butler tied her career-high with six goals, and Miller added five points on four goals and one helper.
MOUNT PLAYOFF HISTORY
Mount St. Mary's will be making its 18th appearance in the NEC Tournament since the league's first season back in 1998. The Mount owns an 8-15 all-time mark in the NEC Playoffs, with its most recent victory coming in 2012, a 7-4 win at top-seeded Sacred Heart that pushed the Mount into the Championship Game.
The Mountaineers have claimed a pair of NEC Tournament Championships in its history, back-to-back titles during the 2004 and 2005 campaigns. They went on to claim NCAA Play-In Game victories over Manhattan in both seasons, before falling in the NCAA First Round at Virginia in 2004 and at Northwestern in 2005.
REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS
Mount St. Mary's clinched its fourth NEC Regular Season Championship in program history after going a perfect 7-0 in conference play. The Mount also claimed the NEC Regular Season Title in 2004, 2005 and 2007. This will mark the third time the Mountaineers have hosted the NEC Playoffs, joining the 2005 and 2007 campaigns.
PERFECT LEAGUE MARK
The Mount recorded its third-ever undefeated mark in NEC play with a 7-0 league record this season. The two previous undefeated seasons for the Mountaineers came in 2004 and 2007. The Mount posted an average margin of victory of 8.43 in conference games this year, defeating teams by double-digit goals in four of seven contests.
The Mount has tied its program record for most victories in a season with 15, and has also clinched the team's best-ever winning percentage in a season. The Mountaineers also won 15 games during the 2004 season, when they posted their previous best winning percentage of .750 with a 15-5 record.
The Mountaineers hit their stride to close out non-conference play, defeating Radford, George Washington, Longwood, Campbell and UC Davis in five consecutive games. They ran the table in conference play to make it 12 straight victories, setting a program record for longest win streak. The Mount's previous record was 10 consecutive wins during the 2004 campaign.
Sophomore Jordan Butler, who played in just three games as a rookie last season, has emerged as one of the league's top scorers in 2019. Butler currently ranks third in the NEC in both goals per game (3.18) and points per game (4.06). Butler's 54 goals on the year are tied for third-most in a season in program history, and she needs just 10 more to match the record. Her 69 points are also third-most in a season by a Mountaineer, just six shy of tying the record. The Bel Air, Maryland product has scored three or more goals in nine of the last 10 games.
The Mountaineers lead the conference and rank 21st nationally with 14.35 goals per contest, which is the highest goals per game average in program history. The team's balanced attack boasts eight players with 20 or more goals on the year. Jordan Butler leads the squad with 54 goals and 69 points this season, while Carly Miller is the team's leader in assists with 21, and ranks second in points with 44.
PROTECTING THE CAGE
Goalie Jillian Petito, who led the nation in save percentage last season, has carried her strong play into her senior campaign. The Ocean City, Maryland native currently ranks second in the country in both save percentage (.549) and goals against average (7.33). Petito has held opponents to single-digit goals in 13 of 17 games this season.
STEPPING UP ON DEFENSE
The Mountaineers rank second in the nation in scoring defense, as they're yielding just 7.24 goals per game to opponents. They trail only Denver on the list, who is 15th in the country in the IWLCA Coaches Poll. The Mount's defensive unit is led by starters Emily Dees, Kaitlyn Ridenour and Devon Filippone, who have combined for 31 caused turnovers on the year.
DOING IT ALL
Emily Davis continues to do it all for the Mountaineers on both ends of the field, as the senior leads the Mount in caused turnovers (23) and ranks second in both ground balls (40) and draw controls (65). Davis, who also places fourth on the squad with 25 goals on the year, has come up with big scores, as she's tied for the league-lead with six game winners.
CONTROLLING THE DRAW
Jordan Groover and Emily Davis are both on the verge of breaking the Mount's single-season record for draw controls of 70, which was set by Beanie Colson just last season. Groover owns a team-high 67 draws this on the year, while Davis sits just behind her with 65. The duo, along with Colson, all rank top-10 in the NEC in draws per game this year.
Goalie Jillian Petito and midfielder Jordan Groover collected NEC weekly honors on Monday to close out the regular season. Petito made 10 saves and registered a .625 save percentage while yielding just six goals in a victory over Sacred Heart on Friday. She followed it up with a seven-save effort to go along with five ground balls and three caused turnovers on Sunday in a win over LIU. Groover was pivotal for the Mountaineers on the attacking end and in the draw circle in the team's pair of victories. One of Groover's top games of the year came in the regular season finale on Sunday, as she matched her career-high with four points on three goals and one helper, while also tying her career-high with seven draws.
The Bulldogs closed out the regular season at 8-8 overall and 4-3 in conference play to earn the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Caitlin Breglia leads the NEC in assists per game (2.19) and ranks second in points per contest (4.12), while Jess DeMeo is second in goals (3.25) and fifth in points (3.56). Between the pipes, Giana Kapoosuzian has posted a .455 save percentage and 13.64 goals against average in 15 starts.