Bullets Dispatch Eagles, Draw Mammoths in NCAA Quarterfinals

GETTYSBURG, Pa.  Saturday's only top-five match up in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship saw third-ranked Gettysburg College cruise past fifth-ranked University of Mary Washington 16-5 and clinch a spot in Sunday's quarterfinal at Clark Field.
 
Gettysburg (18-2) scored the first seven goals of the game and held Mary Washington (17-5) without a tally over the final 28 minutes. The Bullets secured a spot in the regional championship game for the 13th time in the last 19 seasons. Gettysburg will face sixth-ranked Amherst College (17-2), which defeated Wesleyan University (12-7) 12-6 in Saturday's second game. The Bullets and Mammoths will meet at 2:30 on Sunday with the winner advancing to the national semifinals.
 
Senior Katie Willis (Baltimore, Md./Notre Dame Prep) and junior Lauren Cole (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) each tossed in four goals for the home team. Junior Steph Colson (Westminster, Md./Manchester Valley) scored a goal and set a new program NCAA standard with five assists. Colson also grabbed six draw controls, leaving her one shy of tying the program's single-season record of 116 set by Megan Murphy '03 in 2001.
 
After posting 11 saves against Mary Washington in a 12-4 win back on March 15, junior Bailey Pilder (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) matched that total again Saturday. Junior Brooke Holechek (Reisterstown, Md./Notre Dame Prep) and sophomore Claire Macatee (Street, Md./North Harford) each posted two caused turnovers.
 
Both goalies survived early tests with Pilder stopping an attempt by Paige Haskins 52 seconds into the game and Mary Washington goalie Hanna Ashby saving a shot by sophomore Liza Barr (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) two minutes later.
 
Colson set up Gettysburg's first offensive conversion, first posting a caused turnover and a ground ball and then dishing out the assist on a goal by sophomore Courtney Patterson (Whitehouse Station, N.J./Hunterdon Central Regional) at 25:25. Fifty seconds later Colson fed Willis for a tally and the Bullets were off and running.
 
Quick feeds to cutting attackers produced seven assisted goals in the first 19 minutes of action. Kirsten Littlefield cut the run with her first goal of the season for the Eagles with 10:47 left in the half, but another 3-0 run by the hosts made it a 10-1 advantage.
 
Mary Washington tossed in the final two goals of the first period and added two more tallies in the first 1:48 of the second to cut the margin down to five (10-5). Gettysburg's defensive unit, which came into the game ranked second in the country, shut out the Eagles over the remaining time. Mary Washington managed just six more shots, all of which were gobbled up by Pilder.
 
Gettysburg stopped the Eagles' run with three consecutive free-position goals, including two by Willis. Colson dished out two more helpers on goals by Barr and Cole and senior Maggie Welsh (Rye, N.H./Holy Child) picked up her second assist of the day on Cole's fourth tally with 4:06 left.
 
Gettysburg finished with a 30-18 edge in shots and a 16-7 advantage in draws. Mary Washington led in ground balls 16-14.
 
Patterson and freshman Bri Stokes (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) each scored two goals with the former also grabbing five draw controls for the hosts. Freshman Kerry McKeever (Stony Brook, N.Y./Ward Melville) scored a goal, dished out two assists, and scooped up four draw controls.
 
Julia Albert and Holly Hudson each scored two goals for Mary Washington. Littlefield added four ground balls, three draw controls, and three caused turnovers, while Ashby finished with 10 saves.
 
Saturday's second game featured another rematch between members of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Amherst jumped out with the game's first eight goals and held the Cardinals without a shot for nearly 24 minutes.
 
Wesleyan tallied five of the next even goals to slice the deficit down to five (10-5) with 23:03 remaining in the game. After a 10-minute drought without a score, Amherst picked up back-to-back goals by Claire Dunbar and Isabelle Sennett to regain control.
 
Dunbar finished with three goals and four assists, while Sennett posted a trio of goals. Maia Noyes dished out two assists and picked up seven draw controls and three caused turnovers.
 
Emi Ogden-Fung tallied a pair of goals for Wesleyan. Sydney Prokupek added a goal and two assists and Caroline Sgaglione posted three ground balls and four caused turnovers. Allegra Grant notched 10 saves.
 
Gettysburg and Amherst have split four all-time meetings, three of which have taken place in the NCAA playoffs. The Bullets won the last match up 12-4 in the third round of the 2016 national tournament.