Women's Lacrosse Heads to Stevens to First Round of NCAA Division III Tournament

NCAA Division III Tournament Bracket

Montclair, NJ (5/9/10) – The Montclair State women’s lacrosse team will be on the road when they open up play in the 2010 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship and it won’t have to travel too far for that contest.

The Red Hawks (12-5) will go the 15 miles to Hoboken to face 12th-ranked Stevens (16-2) when the national tournament begins on Wednesday, May 12. Game time is set for 4:00 pm. The winner of the game takes on the winner of the Trinity (CT) / Bridgewater State (MA) contest on Saturday, May 15.

The two teams are no strangers to one another and have already met this season. Back on March 3, then 17th-ranked Stevens topped Montclair State 17-10 in Hoboken. The teams have met every season since the 2001 campaign spending time as conference rivals in both the Knickerbocker Women’s Lacrosse Conference and Skyline Conference. Stevens holds a 9-4 edge, including wins in each of the last three years. The Red Hawks last knocked off the Ducks in the 2007 Skyline Championship Game which helped avenge losses in the 2004 and 2005 KWLC title contests (9-5 in ’04 / 14-6 in ’05).

In that aforementioned March game, the Ducks used a six-goal run bridging the first and second halves to pull away from MSU. Christine Smith led Stevens with four goals that evening while Alyson Pigott added three goals and three assists. Cora Delfini (New Egypt, NJ / New Egypt) led Montclair with four goals and two assists while Morgan MacPhee (Toms River, NJ / Toms River East) and Kayla Henderson (Landing, NJ / Roxbury) each netting two goals. Freshman goalkeeper Tiffani Henderson (Landing, NJ / Roxbury) made 14 saves.

The loss at the time left Montclair at 0-2 however the Red Hawks rebounded to win 12 of the next 15 games with the only losses coming against FDU-Florham by a goal as well as defeats against nationally-ranked TCNJ and Rowan, both of which also qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Montclair earned its way into the tournament by claiming the Skyline Conference’s automatic bid, one of 17 automatic bids in the NCAA Tournament. MSU rolled through the Skyline this season going 8-0 during the regular season. The Red Hawks then ripped past Kean in the tournament semifinals, 20-9 and then raced past Ramapo 17-6 in the title game to earn its third NCAA Tournament berth to go along with appearances in 2007 and 2008. Delfini was named the Most Valuable Player of the Skyline Championship as she scored six goals and assisted on another in the Ramapo victory.

Like Montclair, Stevens also got into the tournament via the automatic bid as it captured its first Empire 8 Conference championship with a 14-10 win over host Ithaca in the league’s title contest. Junior Leah Wasserman was named the Most Valuable Player, tallying six goals and handing out one assist.

Not only do the teams know each other having faced one another, but they also share common opponents in Rowan and The College of New Jersey. Montclair lost to both teams by scores of 12-10 and 14-8 respectively. Stevens defeated both teams knocking off Rowan 14-7 in Glassboro and shocking the No. 3 Lions, 16-14 at home on April 29.

And the similarities don’t end there either. Both teams were well represented on their respective All-Conference teams and each garnered Player of the Year honors. Delfini won the Skyline award with Pigott taking the same honor in the Empire 8. Montclair had nine players named to the Skyline All-Conference Team, including six on the First-Team in addition to the league’s Rookie of the Year in freshman Kailee Beal (Succasunna, NJ / Roxbury) and Coach of the Year Nicole Parcelluzzi.  Stevens had seven players chosen to the Empire 8 All-Conference Team.