Women's Lacrosse Battles Second-Seed Robert Morris In NEC Tournament On Friday

Women's Lacrosse Battles Second-Seed Robert Morris In NEC Tournament On Friday

EMMITSBURG, Md. - The Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team begins its quest for its third Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament title on Friday in Hamden, Conn. The Mount comes into the tournament as the No. 3 seed and will face second-seed Robert Morris. Match time is 2:30 p.m.

Prices are $8 for adults and $4 for those under 18/senior citizens. NEC students with a college ID and those under 10 years of age will be admitted free of charge.

In the other semifinal match on Friday, top seed and host Quinnipiac (11-4, 8-1 NEC) will host the fourth seed Sacred Heart (6-10, 5-4 NEC) at 12 p.m. The Bobcats and Pioneers have met in the NEC Championship Game in each of the last three seasons.

Fans unable to attend the tournament will be able to watch all the action free of charge at northeastconference.tv. In addition, Quinnipiac will also be running live stats for the tournament at quinnipiacbobcats.com.

The Mount (7-10, 6-3 NEC) is fueled by junior midfielder Jen Semler (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall), who leads the team with 34 goals and 14 assists for 48 points. Senior midfielder Nicole Price (White Hall, Md./North Harford) ranks second on the team with 33 tallies and seven assists for 40 points while junior midfielder Esther Rufolo (Woodstock, Md./Chapelgate Christian Academy), a 2010 All-NEC second-team selection, is third on the team with 34 goals and four assists for 38 points. Rufolo leads the team with 50 draw controls. Senior defender Aly Jost (Abington, Md./Bel Air), a three-time All-NEC first-team selection and 2009 NEC Defensive Player of the Year, anchors the defense with 38 ground balls an 15 caused turnovers along with 43 draw controls while freshman Gabe Little (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) has a team-high 17 caused turnovers. Junior goalkeeper Brigid McTavish (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) has 124 saves, a 10.99 goals against average and a .405 save percentage.

The Colonials (8-8, 7-2 NEC) will be making their first-ever appearance in the NEC Tournament in 2011. Junior midfielder Colleen O'Donnell fuels the team with 36 goals and 11 assists for 47 points. O'Donnell also paces the defense with 58 ground balls and 54 caused turnovers. Senior attacker Ashley Trombetta ranks second on the team with 27 tallies and 19 assists for 46 points while sophomore attacker Rachel Engel is third with 25 goals and 15 assists for 40 points. Along with O'Donnell, senior defender Mallory Schulze is a major contributor on defense with 30 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers.  Freshman GK Kaitlin Pentz has 102 saves, a 10.43 goals against average and a .389 save percentage.

The tilt between Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris marks the eighth meeting in the all-time series dating back to the 2005 season. The Mount leads the series 5-2, but the Colonials have won two of the last three meetings.  The Mountaineers are 3-0 at home against Robert Morris, but just 2-2 against the Colonials on the road.

Robert Morris defeated Mount St. Mary's 15-12 in the regular season meeting on Apr. 15. Trailing 12-8, the Colonials scored the final seven goals of the match to come from behind for the victory. Trombetta paced Robert Morris with three goals and three assists. O'Donnell posted four goals and Emily VanDyne added a hat trick. Rufolo paced the Mount with four tallies while Price, Semler and freshman Mary MacAdam (Palmyra, N.J./Holy Cross) each registered two scores on the day. McTavish made 13 saves for Mount St. Mary's and Pentz had six stops for the Colonials.

The Mountaineers are making their ninth-straight trip and 13th conference tournament appearance overall. The Mount is 7-10 in the league postseason, including tournament crowns in 2004 and 2005. Mount St. Mary's is coach by first-year head coach B.J. Lucey, who has guided the squad to an 6-10 record and will be coaching her first tournament contest on Friday.

Robert Morris is making its first tournament appearance in the seven-year history of the program. The Colonials are coached by Katy Phillips, who is in her seventh season in Moon Township, Pa. Phillips has guided Robert Morris to a 39-72 mark in her seven seasons.

other notes...
opening draw...
Friday's match between Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris marks the eighth meeting in the all-time series dating back to the 2005 season. The Mount leads the series 5-2, but the Colonials defeated the Mount 15-12 on Apr. 15 in Moon Township. The Mount is 3-0 at home, but 2-2 on the road against Robert Morris. The Mountaineers last win in the series was a 16-7 decision last season in Emmitsburg.

last time out... Senior Nicole Price scored with 21 seconds left to propel Mount St. Mary's past Sacred Heart and into the NEC Tournament with a 10-9 victory on Saturday. Kaitlyn Larrimore paced Mount St. Mary's with a career-high four goals. Jen Semler added a tally and two assists while Meaghan Conlon found the twine twice. Brigid McTavish made four saves.

next on tap... The winner between Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris will face the winner of the Quinnipiac-Sacred Heart game in the NEC Championship Game on Sunday at 12 p.m.

larrimore honored by the league... Kaitlyn Larrimore was named the Northeast Conference (NEC) Rookie of the Week for the week of Apr. 18-24. With a playoff bid in the balance, Larrimore came up big for Mount St. Mary's last week. She scored seven goals on just ten shots in two games, including a four-goal outing on Saturday as the Mount came from behind to beat Sacred Heart, 10-9, and qualify for the NEC Tournament for the ninth straight year. Trailing 8-6 with just over 14 minutes to play, Larrimore scored an unassisted goal to pull the Mountaineers to within one. After the Pioneers responded, the Pylesville, Md., product again brought her team to within a goal on an unassisted tally with 7:56 to play. Larrimore then tied the game on a free position shot with 1:17 left on the clock. The Mount would go on to net the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining. Larrimore also recorded a hat trick in an 11-8 setback to first place Quinnipiac on Thursday. These marked her first career three-goal games and lifted her season total to 14.

in the month... The Mount is 76-61 all-time in the month of April. The squad is 42-22 at home, but 34-39 away from home.

deja vu all over again, hopefully... The last time the Mount faced a must-win situation in the regular season finale was in 2003. Just like the 2011 tilt, the Mount battled Sacred Heart in that match and earned a come-from-behind victory against the Pioneers with a 10-9 win in overtime. After beating Sacred Heart in overtime in 2003, Mount St. Mary's did something no other team in the league has ever done by knocking out the top-seed in the NEC Semifinals. The Mountaineers are the only No. 4 seed to beat a No. 1 and now the squad looks to have history repeat itself with a first-round victory against Robert Morris on Friday to become the first No. 3 seed to win in the NEC Semifinals.

mount vs. the colonials in nec tournament... Mount St. Mary's will be facing Robert Morris in the NEC Tournament first the first time in program history.

making the tournament streak... Mount St. Mary's is making its ninth-straight tournament appearance and 13th overall. The Mount has made every NEC Tournament except for the 2002 season. The nine-consecutive appearances is the longest active streak in the league will the 13th trips ties Monmouth for the most in NEC history.

looking to end the drought... The Mount has lost its last four postseason games. The squad's last tournament win was a 13-8 decision against Quinnipiac in the semifinals in 2007. Since the win against the Bobcats, the Mount lost to Monmouth in the NEC Championship Game and fell to Quinnipiac in 2008 and 2009 before falling to Sacred Heart last season.

 it matters where we play in the tournament... Mount St. Mary's is 3-1 at home, 2-5 on the road and 1-4 on a neutral site in the NEC Tournament. The Mount has not won a neutral site contest since defeating Sacred Heart 6-5 in 2004 and the team's last win on the road was an 11-10 decision against Monmouth in the championship game in 2004.

the third seed... The Mountaineers will be the No. 3 seed for the fifth time in team history. The Mount is 0-4 as the No. 3 seed and is looking to become the first No. 3 seed to make the NEC Championship game. The squad was also the third seed in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009.

the seed of it all...  The Mount has been the No. 1 seed three times, the No. 3 seed five times and the No. 4 seed five times. Mount St. Mary's won both its titles as the No. 1 seed in 2004 and 2005 while the Mount also has the distinction of being the only No. 3 or No. 4 team to win a semifinal matchup when the squad beat Monmouth 15-9 in 2003 at the No. 4 seed.

the championships of the past... Mount St. Mary's won the NEC regular season and tournament titles in 2004 and 2005 and then defeated Manhattan each campaign in the NCAA Division I Play-in Game to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Mount St. Mary's also won the regular season crown in 2007, but lost to Monmouth in the finals that year.

the semlinator...  Junior Jen Semler has posted 33 goals and 13 assists for 46 points in her last 13 games to help the Mount go 7-6 in that stretch. The junior has seven games of at least three goals in that stretch, including a career-high four tallies three times. In addition, Semler has dished out at least two assists in a match five times in that span, including a career-high three helpers against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Apr. 17. The junior had one tally and one assist in her first three games.

the price is right... Senior Nicole Price ranks second on the team with 33 goals and seven assists for 40 points. Price has recorded three games of three tallies or more and a career-high four goals against Central Connecticut State on Mar. 27. Price has found the twine twice in a game 11 times this season. The senior only had one goal against Sacred Heart on Apr. 23, but her score was the decisive goal to propel the Mount into the NEC Tournament.

its all about the price... Senior Nicole Price has an interesting story about her collegiate career. She started out her career playing six games on the Mount's women's basketball team in 2007-08, playing 12 minutes and registered two points and one rebound. In her sophomore year, Price joined the women's lacrosse team and posted six goals and one assist for seven points. An avid snowboarder, Price took off the spring semester in 2010 to go to Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah to participate in a snowboarding program in what could be described as studying abroad alternative. The senior returned this season and ranks second on the team with 33 tallies and seven assists for 40 points.

the roof... the rufolo is on fire...  Junior Esther Rufolo ranks third on the team with 34 goals and four assists for 38 points. Rufolo has recorded 28 of her 34 goals in a span of six games. The junior posted 11 goals in three-straight games against Bucknell (5), UMBC (4) and George Washington (2) and then posted 17 goals in four-consecutive games against Wagner (3), Monmouth (6), Robert Morris (4) and Saint Francis (Pa.) (4). The Mountaineers are 2-7 when Rufolo scores two or more goals in a game and 5-3 when she is held to one or less markers. Her six goals against Monmouth on Apr. 8 set a new career-high.

we want more larri... Sophomore Kaitlyn Larrimore is starting to score at the right time. The sophomore has posted eight goals in her last three games, including notching her first career hat trick in the loss to Quinnipiac on Apr. 21 and then registered a career-high four markers against Sacred Heart, including posting four of the Mount's final six goals to rally to a 10-9 win to clinch a spot in the NEC Tournament.

mctavish honored by the league... Brigid McTavish was named the Northeast Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 28-Apr. 3. It is the second time in her career that she has earned the honor. McTavish anchored a suffocating Mount St. Mary's defense last week, allowing just nine goals in a pair of league wins.  She posted a 4.77 goals against average and .591 save percentage as the first place Mountaineers improved to 4-0 against NEC competition. McTavish turned away eight shots in a 10-6 win against Long Island on Friday and six more in a 13-4 victory over Wagner on Sunday. She also scooped up three ground balls against the Seahawks. 

semler receives national honor...  Jen Semler was named to the Synapse Sports Honor Roll for the week of Mar. 29-Apr. 4.  It marks the fifth time in program history a Mount player has received recognition from the website formerly known as womenslacrosse.com. Semler posted seven goals and two assists for nine points in the week to help the Mount win a pair of Northeast Conference (NEC) games. The junior posted a hat trick in a 10-6 win against Long Island on Friday and four goals and two assists for a career-high six points in a 13-4 win against Wagner on Sunday. Semler converted a free-position attempt at 37:56 to give the Mountaineers the lead for good against the Blackbirds while also finding the twine at 44:38 and 55:50. In the second half against the Seahawks, the junior had a hand in the Mount's first four goals in the second half after scoring the first two markers in the stanza at 34:35 and 38:08 before handing out an assist at 38:59 and capping a 4-0 run with her fourth goal of the afternoon at 53:11.

a big draw in team history... Junior Esther Rufolo has posted the third-most draw controls in program history this season after grabbing 50. Only Sarah Schaffner has more after posting 60 in 2000 and 70 in 1998. Rufolo also holds the fifth-best mark after grabbing 47 draws last season. Senior Aly Jost also joined the draw control single-season ranks with 43 to sit in eighth place.

aly is all defense... Senior Aly Jost has been named to the All-Northeast Conference first team in her first three campaigns and was named the NEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. The senior moved into the Top-10 for career ground balls with three ground balls against Long Island on Apr. 1 and now stands seventh with 167, 12 away from Lacey Morley (179, 1998-01). Jost recorded two caused turnovers against Quinnipiac on Apr. 21 to move into the sixth with 82 caused miscues. Next on the list is Erin LaMotte (83, 2002-05). The senior has a career-high 43 draw controls this season and moved into 10 place in program history with 79 draw controls. Next on the list is Kim Keene (100, 2001-04).

pompa pumps up the jam... Senior Lucy Pompa is making her move in the all-time career draw controls list. The senior currently stands in fifth place with 113 draws, trailing current teammate Esther Rufolo (118) and former teammate Katelyn Catanese (119, 2006-09) for fourth and third place,respectively. Pompa ranked in the Top-4 in ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls on the team in her sophomore and junior campaigns. Pompa missed five games with an injury, but returned to start against Sacred Heart on Apr. 23.

rufolo's big draw... Junior Esther Rufolo posted the fourth-most draw controls in a single season with 47 draw controls last season. Rufolo currently sits in fourth place in program history with 118 career draws. Next on the list is former teammate Katelyn Catanese (119, 2006-09).

mctavish on the move in the net... Junior Brigid McTavish ranks fifth in program history for career saves with 375 stops. Next on the list is Jane Karger (412, 2005-08). She also ranks second in minutes played with 2744.39. Next up is the all-time leader Naomi Campano Radio (4342:50). The junior also sits second for wins with 20, 21 behind Campano Radio's all-time mark.

all-nec returners... The Mount returned two players that received All-Northeast Conference recognition last season. Senior Aly Jost earned her third-straight All-NEC first-team selection in 2010 after being named the NEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. Junior Esther Rufolo earned a spot on the All-NEC second team in 2010 while senior Lucy Pompa was an All-NEC second-teamer in 2009.

first in the nation... The Mount St. Mary's-Navy season opener was also the first game on the women's lacrosse slate for the 2011 season. The match started an hour before George Mason at UMBC and Notre Dame at California. Esther Rufolo won the opening draw to kick start the 2011 women's lacrosse season.

preseason poll... The Mount St. Mary's women's lacrosse team has been picked fourth in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Preseason Coaches Poll. Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart finished tied for the top spot in the poll to share the honor of preseason favorite. The Bobcats picked up three first-place votes while the defending regular season and tournament champion Pioneers grabbed two first-place nods. Monmouth picked up the most first-place votes with five, but finished third in the poll while the Mount and Robert Morris were tied for fourth. Wagner, Bryant, Saint Francis (Pa.), Long Island and Central Connecticut State rounded out the 10-team poll.

the royal blood line... Junior goalkeeper Brigid McTavish is related to one of the best Mount St. Mary's men's basketball player in program history. McTavish's grandfather is the late Jack Sullivan, the Mount's men's basketball all-time leading scorer with 2,672 career points. Sullivan passed away in the fall of 2010.

the local crew... Mount St. Mary's has three players on its roster from Carroll County. Junior Meaghan Conlon (Eldersburg, Md.), junior Brigid McTavish (Mount Airy, Md.) and freshman Gabe Little (Hampstead, Md.) all hail from the neighboring county.

home sweet home... Mount St. Mary's is 80-56 at home in its 15 seasons. In the past five campaigns, the Mount is 48-24 in Emmitsburg, including 32-5 against league opponents in that stretch. The Mount moved into the Waldron Family Stadium in 2006 and the squad is 26-20 in its new home.

all-time mark... Mount St. Mary's is 138-137 all-time in 16 seasons, including 81-56 at home, 54-71 on the road and 3-9 at a neutral site. The Mount is also 63-28 in the Northeast Conference play. The squad also boasts a 14-0 mark in the MAAC after winning the league in 1997 and 1998.