May 2, 2013

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Ashley Slattery, of NCAA-bound Lasell, ranks third in Division III with 115 points and is described by Lasell head coach Cait Connolly as, "the all-around lacrosse player that every coach loves to have."
© Lasell

WD3 Notebook: Lasell Ignorant of Defeat

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

The motto of Lasell College is “Repulsae Nescia.” For those not up on Latin, the saying translates to “Ignorant of Defeat.”

It’s a fitting slogan for Lasell’s women’s lacrosse team, which has lost just one game — by one goal, in overtime — since March 14, and will head to its first-ever NCAA tournament next week.

On Sunday, the Lasers focused their attentions on Simmons in the Great Northeast Championship game and won 15-14 to earn the GNAC’s automatic NCAA bid.

“They were on cloud nine,” said Lasell coach Cait Connolly.

To reach that cloud, the Lasers (15-3) certainly had to push the notion of defeat out of their minds. Simmons, which entered as the No. 3 seed and took down defending conference champion Norwich in the semifinals, scored three goals in four minutes to tie the game at 14 with 44 seconds remaining.

Lasell’s Rebecca Stanton won the ensuing draw and 30 seconds later Caitlyn Brecher hit Britney Wuorio at the top of the crease for the game-winning goal. Brecher won the draw control and the Lasers were dancing.

So which was more important in making sure Lasell would remain ignorant of defeat, the goal or the draw control?

“A little of both,” Connolly said. “The goal put us up, but that draw control was huge. There was enough time on the clock and we were having a hard time holding the lead.”

More often than not, Lasell hasn’t needed to worry about its lead. The Lakers rank second in Division III with 17.61 goals per game and 10th in margin of victory (8.28). Wuorio leads all of D3 with 129 points (83 goals, 46 assists). On Monday, Wuorio was named GNAC MVP for the second-straight season.

"She's our playmaker," Connolly said. "She could always put the ball in the back of the net, but she's refined all other areas of her game."

Wuorio isn't the only Laser beaming to the top of Division III's charts. Ashley Slattery ranks third in D3 with 115 points (62 goals and 53 assists).

“She’s the all-around lacrosse player that every coach loves to have,” Connnoly said. "She's our leader on the field. She sets the tone of the game."

Although Slattery and Stanton are graduating, Lasell could remain relatively ignorant of defeat for for the foreseeable future. Slattery and Stanton are the only seniors on the team and 17 Lasers are freshmen or sophomores. These NCAA trips could become a tradition.

It’s been quite a change in the three years since Connolly and associate head coach Adam Green took over. Lasell’s record hovered around .500 in the years before the coaching change. The Lasers have reached double digit wins in every season since.

“It’s been awesome to see the growth of the program,” Connolly said. “We didn’t think we would have that successful of a season our first year, but we reached the conference championship. We’ve in been the championship three times and we finally got it done. To see the program grow with their lacrosse skills and confidence, we’re right where we want to be.”

Game of Last Week

NESCAC Quarterfinals: Hamilton 10, Bowdoin 9

There’s nothing quite like Maine in the springtime for Hamilton.

One year after upsetting Colby in the NESCAC tournament as the seventh seed, the Continentals did it again, knocking off third-seeded Bowdoin as the sixth seed. In both cases Hamilton came in ranked No. 19 in the nation, and its opponent, No. 6.

They key for Hamilton was a 5-0 run that bridged the first and second halves and gave the Continentals the lead for good. Hannah Hoar scored Hamilton’s final goal to make it 10-8 with 3:59 remaining. Katie D’Antonio led Hamilton with three goals. Bowdoin’s Carolyn Gorajek led all players with four goals and one assist.

What it means for Hamilton: The Continentals are still kicking, but it remains an uphill battle into the NCAA tournament, unless they grab the NESCAC’s automatic entry. The Continentals are in better position than they were at this time last year, at 9-7 instead of 7-9. They’ve also defeated two top 15 teams, Ithaca and Bowdoin, in back-to-back games. But losses to unranked Oneonta and Williams will hurt their case. Hamilton’s best chance is to take the guesswork out and win the NESCAC.

What it means for Bowdoin: The Polar Bears can only wait and hope their name is called on Sunday, but they’re in better position for an at-large bid than Hamilton. The loss was just the third this season for Bowdoin, which previously had only lost to Trinity and Middlebury. The NESCAC is a strong enough league that even a team bounced in the first round of the conference tournament belongs in the NCAAs.

Up next: There’s one more similarity between this year’s Hamilton upset and last year’s: the reward is a semifinal date with No. 1 Trinity on the Bantams home field. Hamilton takes on Trinity on Saturday in Hartford. The winner will face Colby or Middlebury the next day. All the NESCAC contenders will then find out their NCAA fate on Sunday night.

Looking Ahead

Centennial Conference Tournament (at Gettysburg)
No. 4 Washington College vs. No. 1 Gettysburg
No. 3 Haverford vs. No. 2 Franklin & Marshall

The Centennial Conference has been a two-team league forever, but the recent strides shown by Washington College and Haverford have made a Gettysburg/F&M championship game no longer a guarantee.

Three of Haverford’s four losses have come to Top 10 teams and WAC was ranked in the Top 20 a few weeks ago. The Shorewomen edged McDaniel, 11-10, in the first game of the tournament on Wednesday, a potential precursor of close games to come

If either underdog, especially Haverford, can pull a semifinal upset, the committee will have to think long and hard rewarding a third Centennial team with a Pool C bid.

Still, the smart money is on Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg squaring off again on the final day. The rivalry’s most recent showdown ended in a one-goal victory for Gettysburg, which is why the Bullet will host the tournament. Expect another close one should these ancient rivals meet again.

Game Balls (Conference Champion Edition)

Tierney Conlon, Montclair St.: Conlon, a sophomore from Caldwell, N.J., had six goals and two assists in the title game, and was named tournament MVP, as Montclair State went on the road to capture its fourth straight Skyline Championship, 16-13, over Farmingdale State. The victory snapped Farmingdale’s 12-game winning streak, sent the Red Hawks back to the NCAA tournament and gave coach Nicol Parcelluzzi her 100th career victory. Conlon currently ranks second in Division III with 127 points.

Anne Versprille, Springfield: Versprille, a junior from Franklin, Mass., capped an outstanding NEWMAC Tournament on Sunday with 13 saves in a 7-2 victory over Babson in the title game. A day earlier Versprille made nine saves in a 14-9 victory over second-seeded Mount Holyoke to send Springfield back to the title game. It is the second straight NEWMAC championship for the Pride, and second straight tournament MVP for a Pride defensive player from Franklin, Mass. (Ellie Getchell won last year.)

Olivia Vietor, Sewanee: Vietor had five goals and three assists in Sewanee’s 19-13 victory over Centre in the Southern Athletic Association Championship game. She chipped in three goals in Sewanee’s semifinal victory over Berry the previous day. The senior from Bethesda, Md., led the Tigers with  26 assists and 69 points this season. 

Miscellaneous

The expectation is the NESCAC and Centennial Conference will also earn this distinction, but for now the only conference guaranteed to have two Top 10 teams playing for the crown is the CAC, where No. 10 York visits No. 2 Salisbury on Saturday. Salisbury beat York, 17-7, two weeks ago and 17-5 in last year’s CAC championship. Both teams are NCAA locks... The potential also exists for a Top 20 showdown in the MAC Commonwealth. No. 19 Messiah hosts Elizabethtown in a semifinal on Thursday and No. 15 Stevenson hosts Lebanon Valley in the other. If the chalk holds, the top two teams will face off in a rematch of a game won 13-8 by Stevenson on April 17... No. 14 Ithaca and No. 20 St. John Fisher seem to be on a collision course to meet in the Empire Eight title game, but Ithaca will first need to get past Stevens, while St. John Fisher takes on Nazareth... No. 4 Cortland dispatched No. 16 Fredonia on Saturday. If the two squads want a rematch in the SUNYAC finals, Cortland will need to get past an upset-minded Brockport squad, while Fredonia gets Geneseo, which the Blue Devils defeated by one goal, back on April 9... Keep track of all the conference tournaments at the Division III clearinghouse.

Mark Macyk has covered NCAA Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.


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