Panthers face Pilgrims in first round game on Saturday
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The NCAA has revealed the bracket for the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship and Plymouth State University will face New England College in a first round game at Tufts University on Saturday (May 11) at 1:00 p.m.
The Panthers (11-5) are making a third-straight appearance in the national tournament after capturing the Little East Conference championship with a 12-7 win over the University of Southern Maine on Sunday afternoon. NEC (14-5) upset top-seeded Becker College in the finals of the NECC tournament, 18-6, on Saturday.
"We are excited to have earned the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament," said head coach Sandy Bridgeman. "We are looking forward to the matchup with a talented New England College team."
Plymouth State is making its eighth NCAA tournament appearance and is in search of its first tournament win since the 2004 season, when PSU topped Ithaca College by a 14-12 score. Last spring the Panthers fell to #17 Cortland State in a first round game, 17-8.
Senior Veronyca Daniels (Concord, N.H.), the LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, leads the Panthers' offense with 46 goals, 17 assists and 63 points, while junior Sydney Dubois (Goffstown, N.H.) and seniors Sam Fiore (Merrimac, Mass.) and Kimberly Zuccaro (Townsend, Mass.) each finished just shy of 30 goals on the year. Zuccaro has been a major contributor in all phases of the game, also leading the team with 55 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers and ranking second with 46 draw controls.
It was the PSU defense, however, that led the Panthers to a second-straight unbeaten run through the LEC schedule. The Panthers allowed just 5.86 goals per game in conference play and only 8.50 per contest overall. Sophomore Meaghan Allard (Amherst, N.H.) and senior Emilee Wargo (Madison, Conn.) split time in the cage with comparable goals against and save percentage numbers. Meanwhile, sophomore Faye Brown (Londonderry, N.H.) and senior Emily Sauls (North Andover, Mass.) anchored the defense. Though the duo didn't boast flashy statistics, they were primarily responsible for shutting down opponents' top scorers, such as Southern Maine senior Aliza Jordan (Gorham, Maine), who finished second among conference players with 63 goals on the year, but scored just once, her lowest output of the season, in Sunday's title game.
NEC is making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2004. The Pilgrims set a program record for most wins in a season and enter the tournament riding a seven-game win streak. Senior Tara Bainbridge (South Hadley, Mass.) provides the bulk of the NEC offense. She leads the nation in points (181), points per game (10.06), goals (127), goals per game (7.06), shots per game (13.56) and shots on goal per game (10.78). She broke the NCAA Division III record for most points in a season in the NECC semifinals and eclipsed the mark for points in a career with her 11-goal, two-assist performance in the NECC title game. Classmate Alana Scott (Huntington, Vt.) is second on the team with 65 goals, 29 assists and 94 points.
Sophomore McKenzie Gallasso (South Windsor, Conn.) has logged over 800 minutes in goal for the Pilgrims, posting a 10.51 goals against average and 39.1% save percentage.
The winner will advance to face Tufts on Sunday (May 12) in a second round game.
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