WD2 Bracket Breakdown: Parity Reigns Supreme
|Jackie Sileo (81 assists) is a
sophomore and C.W. Post did not reach the NCAA tournament last
season, so this weekend could represent her coming out party on a
© Lee Weissman
Rough final weekends put a damper on the end of the season for several top Division II women's lacrosse teams. Rollins (17-1), Le Moyne (16-2), C.W. Post (14-3) and West Chester (14-3) all lost the last time they took the field, but it wasn't enough to keep them out of the tournament. These four teams, plus Adelphi (16-2) and Limestone (17-1), which won their conferences, should make this year's tournament more competitive than ever.
It's time to analyze the field. Here's the bracket breakdown.
The Top Seeds
Year two of Le Moyne's transition to Division II was even more successful than the first. The Dolphins earned the North's top seed, lost just twice, and handed Adelphi its first loss in 30 games. Adelphi got its revenge Sunday in the Northeast-10 championship game, but it was not enough to remove the Dolphins from the top spot and they now know they'll be heading to Louisville for South Region final. There's a chance they might see Adelphi again, which might not be good news. The Dolphins have lost just five times since reclassifying as Division II last season, four of those losses have come against Adelphi. Brittany Brigandi leads Le Moyne with 63 goals this year. Brigandi was named NE-10 Player of the Year and Kelly Fucillo was named its Goalie of the Year.
The Tars had their hopes for a perfect season spoiled by a one-goal loss in their season finale against Regis, but that doesn't discount the fantastic season for the fifth-year program out of Winter Haven, Fla. The Tars increased their win total for the third straight season and beat Limestone, Lock Haven and Stonehill along the way. Rollins will certainly be rested. The two games against Regis in Denver were the only the Tars have played for over a month. Erica Pagliarulo (45 goals) leads a high-powered offense that ranked second in D2 in scoring. The Tars are tough on both ends. Goalie Elyse De Lisle ranks 19th in save percentage (.465) backing up D2's fifth-stingiest defense.
Last Team In
Losing to Dowling in the final game of the season didn't eliminate C.W. Post this year. The Pioneers were likely in when Stonehill was knocked out in the NE-10 semifinals. C.W. Post beat Stonehill and had its win over Adelphi to boost its resume. The Pioneers didn't win the ECC, but they'll gladly take the NCAAs as a consolation prize.
First Team Out
Katie Shannon, the Stonehill alum that's filming a documentary about the Sky Hawks' season, got a dramatic ending to her film when Stonehill fell in overtime to Adelphi in the NE-10 semifinals. It will make for excellent cinema, but the Sky Hawks certainly would have preferred a win. It might have been enough to get them the North region's last spot.
Nobody, the committee chose the correct six schools. Lock Haven defeated West Chester, but ultimately cost itself a spot by falling to Mercyhurst in the PSAC semifinals. Stonehill brought Adelphi to overtime in the NE-10 semifinals, but lost to all three North region playoff teams. New Haven had a head-to-head victory over C.W. Post, but lost to Bentley for the second time in the NE-10 quarterfinals. The real snub is that only three teams get to make it in each region. That number is expected to increase to four next season.
Best First-Round Game
Adelphi at C.W. Post
C.W. Post-Adelphi is one of the best rivalries in the game. Even during Adelphi's recent unstoppable run, the only team to beat the Panthers was Post. Last week C.W. Post defeated Adelphi in overtime, in a game it had trailed 6-1 during. Adelphi will be looking to erase that memory. The Panthers avenged their first loss of the season this weekend against Le Moyne. Post could be next. Don't make plans for right after the game, overtime is a distinct possibility.
Seeded Too High
Rollins gets the No. 1 seed because it beat Limestone, 11-10, in February. But that was almost three months ago. While Rollins has rolled since that time, Limestone has been perfect. Once Rollins lost to Regis, Limestone could have very easily made the case that it deserved to be packing for Louisville early.
Seeded Too Low
Adelphi beat Le Moyne on Sunday, but the Dolphins are headed for the semifinals while Adelphi prepares for what should be an absolute battle against C.W. Post. Still that game should be great. So it's bad news for Adelphi, but good news for Long Island lacrosse fans.
This is looking ahead to the finals. For the past few years the North, and specifically Adelphi, has dominated. The polls have reflected that as well. But Rollins, Limestone and West Chester are all very capable of winning it all this season. The real upset actually may be that a victory for the South would no longer be considered an upset.
Three Players to Watch
Jordann Dempsey, Adelphi, So. G
Dempsey had some talented shoes to fill when Frankie Caridi transferred to Stony Brook in the offseason. This weekend in the NE-10 playoffs, through two overtime games against high-powered offense, Dempsey came through. The sophomore made eight saves in the finals against Le Moyne, six in the second half, and was named tournament MVP. She'll need to repeat that performance if they Panthers are going to get past C.W. post and Le Moyne.
Tori Dugan, West Chester, Jr. A
It was Dugan who led the way when West Chester handed Le Moyne its first loss of the season a few weeks ago, with four goals and an assist. If the Golden Rams are going to leave South Carolina with a win over Limestone next weekend it will likely again be Dugan leading the way. Another reason to route for Dugan: In November she donated some of her bone marrow to save a stranger's life.
Jackie Sileo, C.W. Post, So. A
Sileo is a sophomore and C.W. Post did not reach the NCAA tournament last season, so this weekend could represent her coming out party on a national stage. Few players possess the kind of field vision that Sileo has. She always seems to know where the open player and leads Division II with 81 assists, 20 more than the next closest competitor.
Don't Be Surprised If...
All games are decided by one goal. Seriously, these are six talented, tested teams and each is capable of winning it all. They've beaten up on each other all year. Don't expect to see a team trying holding a huge lead late in any game. Parity reigns supreme in Division II.