Trinity Women's Lacrosse Faces Cortland State In First NCAA Final Four Saturday

Trinity Women's Lacrosse Faces Cortland State In First NCAA Final Four Saturday

Hartford, Conn., May 16, 2012 –The Trinity College women's lacrosse team, which captured the NCAA Division III Regional Championship title over the weekend with a 17-6 win over Buffalo State and a 7-5 win against Colby, will make its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Final Four when the Bantams face the Cortland State Red Dragons on Saturday, May 19 at Montclair State University.  The game will begin at 4 p.m., following the other NCAA Division III Semifinal featuring Middlebury College and Salisbury University at 1 p.m., and the winners will advance to the NCAA Championship game on Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m. at Montclair State.  Single game tickets for this weekend's games will be $7 for adults, $4 for students and senior citizens, and $2 for children under 12, while all-tournament passes will cost $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, and children.  All four teams were honored at the NCAA Final Four banquet, and each team helped conduct a sports clinic for the local Special Olympics.

Watch the banquet video

Watch the Special Olympics Video

Trinity, coached by four-time (including 2011 and 2012) NESCAC Coach of the Year Kate Livesay (4th Season), earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney due to an 11-10 win against Middlebury in the NESCAC Finals for its second consecutive league crown. Trinity is making its fifth trip in the last six years to the NCAA Tournament and also participated in 1995, 1997, and 1998.  The Bantams won their first NCAA Quarterfinal in seven tries on Sunday, setting a College record for wins in a season with 19 which eclipsed last spring's 18-1 mark that ended in the NCAA Quarters with the only loss of the spring, 9-6, against Bowdoin College.  Trinity is ranked No. 5 in the nation, and Cortland State is ranked No. 2 nationally.

In the NCAA Second Round win over Buffalo State on Saturday, senior co-captain midfielder Liz Bruno (Andover, Mass.) and senior attacker Caite Irvine (Westwood, Mass.) totaled four points apiece with three goals and one assist, while junior attacker Hadley Duncan (Rye, N.Y.) had a hat trick, and sophomore attacker Shea Kusiak (Longmeadow, Mass.) led all scorers with five points on two goals and three assists.  Bruno also notched four ground balls and six draw controls, while junior midfielder Megan Leonhard (Summit, N.J.) added a goal, three ground balls, and three caused turnovers, and junior Olivia Whitney (Danvers, Mass.) made two saves in the Trinity cage.  Leonhard and scored twice each and the Trinity defense, led by senior co-captain Liza Beckler (Potomac, Md.), junior Mallory Hinman (Longmeadow, Mass.), and sophomores Midge Daniel (Wellesley, Mass.) and Lindsey Shepard (Hamilton, Mass.) in front Whitney, held Colby to just eight shots over 60 minutes.  Junior attacker Kaitlin Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.) led all scorers with three points on a goal and two assists, while Bruno added one goal and one assist.  Beckler scooped a game-high four grounders, while Leonhard totaled three ground balls and three draw controls, and Whitney made one save. 

Trinity ranks second in scoring among NESCAC teams with 12.45 goals per game, featuring a balanced attack with just Duncan appearing amidst the top ten in the league in points with 60 points (3.00 per game, T7th) on 55 goals (2.75 per game, 4th in NESCAC) and five assists.  Irvine has 46 goals (2.30 per game, 9th in NESCAC) Leonhard adds 45 goals (2.25 per game, 10th in NESCAC).  Bruno is the fourth-leading assister in the NESCAC with 28 (1.40 per game) to go with her 23 goals for 51 points, while Irvine and Leonhard have five and six assists, respectively, for a total of 51 points each.   Bruno is a three-time All-American and the 2011 NESCAC Player of the Year, while Leonhard and Irvine were 2011 First Team All-Americans and 2010 Third Team All-Americans, respectively, and both earned all-league honors this spring.  Bruno leads the squad in ground balls (49), draw controls (51) and caused turnovers (46), while Leonhard boasts 46 ground balls, 45 draw controls, and 24 caused turnovers.

Six different Bantams have 25 or more points this spring, as sophomore attacker Shea Kusiak (Longmeadow, Mass.) adds 17 goals and 15 assists, and first-year midfielder Caroline Hayes (Greenland, N.H.) is Trinity's top-scoring rookie with 22 goals and three assists.  Junior attacker Kaitlin Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.), who had 20 goals in 2011, has provided scoring punch off the bench since returning from an early-season injury with 11 goals and eight assists in 10 games, while junior Haley Thompson (Ipswich, Mass.) is a versatile and valuable attacker who contributes in all facets of the game.  Beckler, an All-NESCAC First-Teamer, Hinman, and Shepard have combined for 93 ground balls and 60 caused turnovers, including 40 grounders and 30 turnovers caused by all-league honoree Hinman.  Junior Hillary McNamara (Milton, Mass.) has started every game and plays numerous positions, while Daniel has been effective as a defensive starter in the NCAA Tournament, and junior midfielder Kaitlin Reedy (Ipswich, Mass.) and rookie midfielder Lindsay Mullaney (Boston, Mass.) are also valuable reserves.  Whitney is fourth among conference goalkeepers with a 7.25 GAA on 131 goals allowed to go with 80 saves.

Cortland State is 2-1 after a 9-7 triumph over New Jersey on Sunday in its NCAA Quarterfinal game.  The Red Dragons, coached by Kathy Taylor (4th Season), earned an automatic to the NCAA Tourney after winning their 14th consecutive SUNYAC title. Cortland State has been to two NCAA Final Fours including last spring when the Dragons lost, 13-11, to 2011 National Champion Gettysburg in the semifinal round.  Against TCNJ, Erin Kollar had four goals and one assist, while Maria Di Fato added three goals and two helpers, and Shauna Hutchinson made six saves in the Cortland cage.  Lindsay Abbott is the top Red Dragon scorer with 76 goals and 59 assists, while Di Fato adds a team-high 75 goals and 27 assists, and Hutchinson has a 6.99 GAA and 123 saves in goal.

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