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Women's Lacrosse Returns to NCAA Tournament, Will Face Messiah in First Round

Women's Lacrosse Returns to NCAA Tournament, Will Face Messiah in First Round

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The nationally-ranked No. 15 Wesleyan University women's lacrosse team earned an at-large bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championships, for the second year in a row, and will play No. 12 Messiah (15-3) in the first round on Saturday, May 12 on the campus of St. John Fisher. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the second round on Sunday to face the host school and 18th-ranked Cardinals.

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AT A GLANCE: NO. 15 WESLEYAN (10-6) – NESCAC At-Large Bid
Schedule * Roster * Stats

  • Wesleyan has posted back-to-back double-digit wins for the first time in school history as it makes its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
  • The Cardinals never made the postseason tournament prior to the 2017 campaign, as Head Coach Kim Williams has revitalized the program in just her third season at the helm.
  • Of Wesleyan's 16 games, nine were against opponents ranked in the top-25. The Cardinals went 3-6 in those games and 2-3 against top-10 teams, including a 7-6 road win over No. 1 TCNJ.
  • They are 2-0 in neutral site contests and 4-4 on the road this season.
  • Wesleyan has relied on its defense all season, as it averages just 9.94 goals per game but only allows 9.00.
  • Offensively, the Cardinals are led by sophomore midfielder Abby Manning, junior midfielder Abigail Horst, and junior attack Caitlin Wood. Manning leads the team in points (41) and assists (10), while Horst has a team-high 34 goals and Wood ranks third on the team with 30 points.
  • Defensively, junior All-American Caroline Sgaglione and sophomore goalie Allegra Grant headline the unit. Sgaglione leads the team in ground balls (39) and draw controls (52), and is tied for the team-lead in caused turnovers alongside Amy Breitfeller '19 and Jordan Ansell '21 with 16. Grant has started all 16 games and has logged 962:15 minutes between the posts. She's been terrific all season, allowing just 8.98 goals and saving 51.2-percent of shots she's faced.
  • Horst and Sgaglione were named All-Conference First Team selections while Grant was named to the Second Team.

AT A GLANCE: NO. 12 MESSIAH (15-3) – MAC Commonwealth Champions
Schedule * Roster * Stats

  • The Falcons received the automatic qualifying bid from the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) as they claimed their fourth consecutive title.
  • They are making their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and are 4-7 all-time in the postseason.
  • Messiah boasts one of the country's top defensive units as it ranks No. 14 in Division III in scoring, allowing just 6.89 goals per game. The Falcons have won 11 straight games and are 2-0 in neutral site contests and 5-2 on the road.
  • The unit is led by the MAC Commonwealth Defensive Player of the Year, senior Kendra Herbenar. Herbenar leads the team in ground balls (62), draw controls (86) and caused turnovers (55). In net, the Falcons utilize a two-player approach as junior Amber Orner plays the first half and freshman Jessie Lissner enters in the second. Orner has 57 saves on the season with a 7.35 goals-against average (GAA), while Lissner has 55 saves and a 6.32 GAA.
  • Offensively, junior attack Courtney Wagner leads the group with team-highs of 83 points on 47 goals and 36 assists. Junior midfielder Annika Johnsen ranks second on the team in goals (40) and points (52), and junior attack Jamie Bishop is second in assists (16).
  • Wagner, Johnson, and Herbenar were named First Team All-Conference selections, while Bishop and senior defender Audrey Liberati picked up Second Team honors. Freshman defender Katie Stottlemyer was named Honorable Mention as well.

AT A GLANCE: NO. 18 ST. JOHN FISHER (17-2) – Empire 8 Champions
Schedule * Roster * Stats

  • St. John Fisher won its seventh straight Empire 8 Conference title to reach the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history. The Cardinals are 4-8 all-time in the tournament.
  • They are riding a 12-game winning streak and are a perfect 9-0 at home this season.
  • St. John Fisher also boasts one of the nation's stingiest defenses, as it ranks No. 5 overall in scoring, allowing a mere 5.79 goals per game.
  • Offensively, they average 14.63 goals per contest and have three players with 40 or more points thus far. Senior attack Claire Bollin leads the unit in points (61), while senior attack Kelsie Schindler ranks second (57) with a team-high 29 assists, and sophomore Mallory Eymer ranks third (43) with a team-high 40 goals. Bollin ranks second on the team in both goals (38) and assists (23), while also leading the team in draw controls with 111.
  • On the defensive side, sophomore defender Hayley Maguire leads all players with 34 caused turnovers while freshman midfielder Logan Chase ranks second with 31. Chase is also first on the team in ground balls with 42. In net, sophomore Morgan Hayes has started 11 games with 585:25 minutes logged between the posts. She owns a 5.23 GAA and 37.8 save percentage, while senior Molly Maguire has started eight games with 380:36 minutes logged and owns an 8.20 GAA and 45.8 save percentage.
  • Bollin, Chase and junior defender Molly Tice were named First Team All-Conference selections, while Maguire and senior midfielder Morgan Young received Second Team laurels. Schindler and junior defender Mary Grace Doyle were named Honorable Mention.