Top Seeds Advance in Women's NCAA Division II Opening Round


Lydia Rudden had a goal and five assists as Stonehill held off Mercy 18-17 in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Championship on Friday.

All eight No. 1 and No. 2 seeds survived in Friday’s opening round of the NCAA Division II Women’s Tournament, but not without a little drama in a couple of the games.

East Region

The most intense finish of the day featured No. 1 Stonehill defeating No. 4 seed Mercy, 18-17, in the East Region. Hosting their first NCAA game since 2003, the Skyhawks rallied from an early 5-0 deficit to assumably take control in the second half before a late rally from Mercy turned the game back into a nail-biter.

The drama came down to the final 13 seconds, with Stonehill’s freshman goalie Sarah Faley making the game-saving stop on a point blank shot from Mercy’s Christina Lopreato to secure the win.

“That game was wild,” said Stonehill coach Katie Conover. “We’re just riding this wave wherever it takes us. There’s nobody on this team that thinks we’re going to lose.”

With All-Americans Emma Sullivan and Lydia Rudden taking control in the fourth quarter, Stonehill built its biggest lead of the game at 18-13 with 7:18 left when Sullivan capped a five-goal run with her game-high fifth goal of the day. Rudden assisted on all five Skyhawk goals during that run.

But East Coast Conference champion Mercy wouldn’t go quietly, scoring the last four goals of the game to set up the closing drama.

“Emma does all the dirty work to get us extra possessions and puts the ball in the net, and she might be our best defender too,” Conover said. “And Lydia drives this ship. Their IQ is so high and they are very coachable. These two kids are special.”

Stonehill (18-2), which is reclassifying to Division I effective July 1, will continue its final Division II run on Sunday in the regional final against NE10 rival Adelphi, which used a stifling defense to defeat Le Moyne, 11-4.

Sporting the fifth ranked scoring defense in Division II, Adelphi (17-2) completely throttled Le Moyne, holding the Dolphins scoreless in the second half while beating their arch-rival for the seventh time in eight NCAA Tournament meetings. All-America goalie Emma Lemanski (8 saves) and defender Alexandra Beebe (4 caused turnovers) anchored the Panthers’ defense, while Christina McCabe paced the offense with three goals.

Midwest Region

In the Midwest Region, All-Americans Peyton Romig and Abigail Lagos each scored three goals and the Greyhounds defense held the Lions scoreless over the final 15 minutes as No. 1 seed UIndy downed No. 4 seed Lindenwood, 13-8. UIndy scored the game’s final five goals to extend its winning streak to 14 straight games.

UIndy (19-1) defeated Lindenwood for the third time this year and eliminated the defending champions from the chase for a second straight NCAA title. The game also marked the end of Lindenwood’s Division II tenure as the Lions are reclassifying to Division I for next season.

UIndy will host No. 2 seed Grand Valley State (19-1) in Sunday’s regional final after the Lakers rallied past No. 3 Regis, 12-11, in the region’s other first round game. Regis owned the first half but Grand Valley State controlled the second half to ultimately win the game.

A six-goal run in the second quarter had given Regis a 9-4 halftime lead, but GVSU outscored Regis 8-2 in the final 30 minutes to advance to the regional final for the first time. GVSU’s Kate DeYoung scored her third of the game with 2:14 remaining to pull the Lakers even, then All-American Sophie Conroy netted the game-winner with 43 seconds left to complete the comeback.

South Region

In the South Region, No. 1 seed Queens trailed No. 4 Tampa 8-7 at halftime, but started the second half with a 6-1 run to eventually secure a 16-13 victory. All-American attacker Rebecca Kinsley had two of her team-high four goals during the run, with Kaitlyn Hardin also scoring twice.

The Royals (20-0), who have held the No. 1 spot in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Top 20 since mid-March, now face Florida Southern in the regional final in a rematch of the game played on February 27 that Queens won 12-9.

No. 2 seed Florida Southern (16-3) advanced with a dominating 19-6 victory over Wingate, taking control with an 8-1 second quarter. Eight different players scored for FSC, led by four goals apiece from Abby McFerren and Brenna Smith.

Atlantic Region

In the Atlantic Region, No. 1 seed East Stroudsburg and No. 2 seed West Chester both advanced with relative ease to set up the fourth meeting of the season between the PSAC rivals and a re-match of last year’s regional final. The teams split their two regular season games in 2022 before ESU won last week’s encounter in the PSAC Championship Game.

On Friday, East Stroudsburg (18-1) built an 8-1 halftime lead and never looked back to defeat PSAC foe and No. 4 seed Mercyhurst, 13-3. All-American midfielder Emily Mitarotonda led all scorers with five goals, including three straight in the first half as the Warriors grabbed control.

ESU is now one win away from returning the final four for the second straight season but must beat West Chester for the third time. The Rams (17-2) defeated No. 3 seed Seton Hill for the second time in seven days by steadily pulling away for the 19-10 victory. Six goals each from sophomore All-American Hannah Stanislawczyk and freshman Keri Barnett powered WCU, which is making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance.

Friday Scores

Adelphi 11, LeMoyne 4
East Stroudsburg 13, Mercyhurst 3
Florida Southern 19, Wingate 6
Grand Valley State 12, Regis (Colo.) 11
Indianapolis 13, Lindenwood 8
Queens 16, Tampa 13
Stonehill 18, Mercy 17
West Chester 19, Seton Hill 10

Sunday’s Regional Finals

(all games start at Noon)
No. 1 seed East Stroudsburg vs No. 2 West Chester (Atlantic Region)
No. 1 seed Stonehill vs. No. 2 Adelphi (East Region)
No. 1 seed Indianapolis vs. No. 2 Grand Valley State (Midwest Region)
No. 1 seed Queens vs. No. 2 Florida Southern (South Region)

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