March 21, 2013

WD2 Notebook: Limestone Takes Down Rollins at Perfect Time

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Chelsea Treat (29 goals, 18 ground balls) is one of a few Limestone seniors with experience playing in a national title game.
© Lee Weissman

Once upon a time, in a distant land known as the Southeast, Limestone and Rollins would meet in May. But with academic calendars and final exams that was simply too late. 

Last year, the two teams met on Feb. 25. That was too early.

This year, Rollins and Limestone played the day before St. Patrick’s Day. For a couple of teams with championship aspirations, the timing of the showdown might be just right.

It was downright playoff-like on the field in Winter Park, Fla., Saturday, as visiting Limestone topped Rollins 13-12, beating the Tars for the first time since 2010.

Brittany Howard delivered the game-winner with 3:03 remaining, putting an end to a a run of one-goal victories for Rollins, though the Tars certainly tried to make another happen. Limestone led 12-8 with 18 minutes remaining, but Rollins pressured and scored four straight, capping the rally when Caroline Lamere tied it with 8:37 remaining.

Rollins outshot Limestone, 38-18, and LC goalie Rashelle McLellan made 15 saves. 

“We haven’t seen that many shots since the last time we played them,” Limestone coach Scott Tucker said. “That was great for [McLellan]. Everyone’s confidence in her is at a peak. Our defense really stood on its head. We didn’t stop Rollins from shooting, but the quality of their shots wasn't there.”

The quantity sure was. The constant pressure placed by Rollins put Limestone in a position it hadn’t been in all year. And an unfamiliar position was exactly where the Saints wanted to be.

“The way they present themselves you’re almost forced to play offense even when you don’t want to,” Tucker said. “A lot of teams play not to lose at the end of the game. It was kind of good for us. It forced us to continue to go to the goal.”

Limestone and Rollins are kind of mirror images of each other: athletic squads with deep benches that come at you in waves. They’re also two of the best teams in the country, and the competition comes at a perfect time for both.

Rollins reaches the halfway point of its schedule on Saturday. Limestone only has Lock Haven remaining before a suddenly daunting conference schedule starts up. The game comes as a nice midseason litmus test and also a jumping point for each team to build from.

This was a problem for Limestone last year. In 2011, when they reached the NCAA championship game, the Saints played in five one-goal games. Last season they won 15 in a row after losing to Rollins, but just one of those games were decided by one goal. West Chester, which Limestone had eliminated from the playoffs the year before, bounced them in the South Region playoffs, 11-7.

“It’s nice to win by 10 goals,” Tucker said. “But it doesn’t help you.”

Two weeks ago the Saints lost a one-goal game against Le Moyne. And though several key players were hurt, the team, now healthy, was able to draw on lessons from Le Moyne against Rollins. They’ll now use the Rollins game going forward with Lock Haven, Pfeiffer and Florida Southern still on the schedule. 

That’s plenty of potential tests before the final exam in May.

And that is the key for Limestone. The Saints need talented teams to visit campus. Getting talented players to attend Limestone is never the issue.

Gaffney, S.C., is a small town with something for everyone, within driving distance of the mountains, the beach and Charlotte. But the surrounding area is quiet, in many ways its a lot like upstate New York, where Tucker and nine of the Saints hail from — just without the lake effect snow. The location, and the program, has attracted talent from all over: the aforementioned New York contingent, a stream of Southern players, plus a pipeline from the North that has pumped Canadian talent toward Limestone for years.

The Saints still have 2011 championship game-tested players like Queener (18 goals, 15 assists, 14 draw controls, 10 ground balls), Sarah Oor (11 goals, 28 assists) and Chelsea Treat (29 goals, 18 ground balls) leading the way. Up-and-coming players, such as sophomore Sam McCarrick (28 goals, five assists), are stepping in.

That talent wouldn’t get to rest on their laurels after beating Rollins. They took down No. 15 Bloomsburg, 13-8, on Wednesday. On Sunday, they’ll again be put to the test on Sunday, when No. 11 Lock Haven (2-0) comes to town. They wouldn’t want it any other way.

"We look forward to those types of games," Tucker said. "They're what makes coaching enjoyable." 

Game of Last Week

No. 7 Bentley 10, No. 9 Le Moyne 9 (OT)

Entering this season, Adelphi was the only Northeast-10 team to had ever beaten Le Moyne. the only Northeast-10 team. Bentley changed that on Sunday. It’s going to be one of those seasons in the NE-10, where five teams are currently ranked in the Top 15.

Carolyn Kynoch scored off an assist from Taylor Bastien with 50 seconds remaining in overtime to give Bentley the lead and Alley Dorman made a save in the closing seconds to preserve the victory. Bentley had led 9-6 with 13 minutes remaining, but Kathleen Conese scored two unassisted goals and then assisted on Maggie Monnat’s game-tying goal with 1:25 remaining to force the extra frame.

Dorman and Le Moyne’s Molly Marbut each continued their stellar seasons, making 10 and 12 saves respectively. 

It was the NE-10 opener for both teams after a month spent by both engaged in close contests across the South. This weekend Le Moyne (2-2) hosts NE-10 members American International and Southern New Hampshire. Bentley (2-1) hosts Molloy of the ECC.

Looking Ahead

No. 14 Bloomsburg at No. 2 West Chester, Wednesday

It’s might be a mismatch on paper, but this is one the Golden Rams have had circled since last year. West Chester reached the NCAA championship game last season, but Bloomsburg beat them twice along the way.

Bloomsburg (2-2) has prepared for the PSAC with a tough early-season schedule. The Huskies have Top 10 losses to Dowling and Limestone and a home game with LIU Post looms on Sunday. Through four games, Julie Falk leads Bloomsburg with 12 goals and 16 points.

Bloomsburg will be the toughest opponent thus far for West Chester, which has its whole PSAC schedule ahead of it and its toughest non-league games: Rollins, LIU Post and Le Moyne, sprinkled in during off days. The Golden Rams have dominated their early competition, winning three straight against South Region competition by an average score of 22-6. Through three games, Lauren Glassey (8-3-11) and Tori Dugan (5-6-11) lead West Chester with 11 points and Nicole Pyle (7-3-10) has 10 points.

Bloomsburg beat West Chester, 14-13, in overtime last March, ending a 75-game PSAC regular season winning streak for the Golden Rams. The Huskies then topped them again, 15-11, in the PSAC playoffs. West Chester still made the NCAA tournament, where it defeated Limestone and Rollins to reach the title game. 

Game Balls

Devan Crimi, Adelphi
Crimi, a junior from West Islip, N.Y., picked up three goals and six assists for a career-high nine points to propel the fourth-ranked Panthers past Merrimack, 20-7, in their NE-10 opener. She followed that up by chipping in three goals on Wednesday as the Panthers grabbed another NE-10 victory over Southern Connecticut. Through six games, Crimi leads the unbeaten Panthers with 13 assists and 33 points.

Jackie Sileo, LIU Post
On Wednesday, Sileo became Division II’s all-time assist leader, pairing six helpers with four goals as the No. 1 Pioneers defeated No. 8 Dowling, 16-13. It was the first time LIU Post (6-0) has defeated Dowling (4-1) since 2010. The record-breaking game came on the heels of Saturday’s 22-6 win over Holy Family, when Sileo racked up eight goals and four assists. Sileo now has 210 career assists, breaking the Division II record set by her Wantagh (N.Y.) High School teammate, Claire Peterson during her two seasons at Adelphi. Sileo is just six games into her junior season and may be witnessing the best Division II career of all time.

Alexa Lodovici, Indiana (Pa.)
Lodovici racked up four goals and six assists in IUP’s season-opening, 25-7 victory over Tiffin on Saturday. The senior from Vorhees, N.J., kept the points coming on Wednesday with three goals and three assists in the Crimson Hawks’ 15-7 victory at Queens (N.C.).

Miscellaneous

It’s now a perfect 10-0 for Pfeiffer, which shot up to No. 6 in this week’s rankings after edging No. 13 New Haven and Wilmington this weekend in Annapolis. Another regional test awaits on Sunday when IUP comes to town... Stonehill has now won three straight after losing its first two games, most recently handing Assumption its first loss of the season, 18-7, on Wednesday. Up next: A Sunday home game against New Haven (2-3)... There are only 10 undefeated teams left standing in Division II: Pfeiffer (10-0), LIU Post (6-0), Adelphi (6-0), Lindenwood (6-0), St. Thomas Aquinas (6-0), West Chester (3-0), Millersville (3-0), Lock Haven (2-0) IUP (2-0), and Slippery Rock (1-0).

Mark Macyk has covered NCAA Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.


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