PREVIEW: Women's lacrosse returns to postseason Wednesday at Le Moyne

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College women's lacrosse team has earned its first Northeast-10 Conference Championship berth since 2015 and will hit the road to face Le Moyne College in a quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday, May 2.

As the No. 7 seed, the Hawks will take on the No. 2 seed and No. 4-ranked Dolphins at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at Le Moyne's Ted Grant Field in Syracuse, N.Y. Saint Anselm finished the regular season tied with Assumption with 6-7 marks in the highly-competitive NE10 but earned the No. 7 seed by virtue of a head-to-head victory over the Greyhounds.

The Hawks posted an 8-9 record in the regular season with eight of the team's nine losses coming to nationally-ranked opponents. Le Moyne boasts a 16-1 record and a 12-1 mark in league play, with its lone loss coming to the nation's No. 1 team, Adelphi University, on Apr. 25. In the regular-season meeting, Le Moyne doubled up Saint Anselm, 16-8, at Ted Grant Field on Apr. 7, holding the Hawks scoreless until the 12:22 mark of the first half.

LAST TIME OUT: Saint Anselm dropped its regular-season finale, 20-16, to No. 20-ranked New Haven despite six goals and one assist from senior Erica Mattila on Saturday afternoon in West Haven, Conn. Mattila's six goals and seven points matched her career highs in both categories.

Senior Meaghan Sheehy entered the game tied with Michaela Rocha '09 for the single-season points record at Saint Anselm and broke the tie by assisting on a Mattila goal with 5:23 left in the opening half. The assist gave Sheehy 46 goals and 46 assists for a record 92 points in 2018.

Sophomore Breda Holland tied her career high with four goals in the game and also picked up five ground balls, while junior Molly Beck added three goals, 11 draw controls, three ground balls and one caused turnover. Senior Marta Versprille contributed one goal, three assists, a team-high six ground balls and a pair of draw controls.

Trailing 5-3 a little over eight minutes in, Saint Anselm scored four-straight goals to build a 7-5 lead, with Mattila and Emma Palumbo each recording a goal and an assist during the run. Finding themselves behind for the first time, the Chargers rallied to take a 9-8 halftime lead by closing the half scoring four of the final five goals.

The hosts opened up a three-goal lead by scoring the first two goals of the second half. Saint Anselm got within two goals on four occasions before New Haven pulled away with another 4-1 run to lead 18-13 with 8:36 left.

Saint Anselm narrowly outshot New Haven in the game, 37-34, but the Chargers got 13 saves from Gianna Guerra on the afternoon. Senior Zoie Cavotta made eight stops for the Hawks.

SCOUTING SAINT ANSELM 

  • Saint Anselm has compiled one of the best offensive seasons in program history, ranking third in points (319), third in goals (235) and fifth in assists (84) in 2018. The Hawks have also set a new program record with 277 draw controls, second-most in the NE10, and rank 14th in Division II in draw controls per game (16.29). The team's 158 caused turnovers are second-most in a single season.
  • Six Hawks have totaled at least 25 goals this season, led by Mattila's 52, which is the 10th-highest single-season total for a Saint Anselm student-athlete. Sheehy has added 46 goals and 46 assists, Palumbo has tallied 40 goals and Beck has scored 37 goals. Holland and Versprille have 26 goals apiece.
  • Sheehy's her 46 assists this season are 12 more than Rocha's previous single-season record. Her 11 points in a win over Southern Connecticut on Mar. 17 tied Lauren Glancy's single-game school record and made Sheehy the program's 13th student-athlete to reach 100 career points. Sheehy is one goal shy of becoming Saint Anselm's 10th 100-goal scorer and ranks sixth all-time in points (168).
  • Mattila also surpassed the 100-point milestone as part of a five-goal effort against Saint Michael's on Mar. 20 and currently ranks 10th in program history in points (144) and seventh in goals (121).
  • In her second season as the team's starting goalkeeper, Cavotta's 165 saves are third in the single-season record book and she owns eight games with double-digit stops. Her 287 career saves rank fourth in program history and Cavotta has raised her save percentage from 35.3% a year ago to 42.0% this season.

SCOUTING LE MOYNE

  • The Le Moyne defense is one of the stingiest in Division II, leading the NE10 and ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense (6.29 GAA). Only three of the Dolphins' opponents this season have managed to score double-digit goals in a game.
  • The Dolphins are a perfect 8-0 at home and are 39-2 on their home turf since the start of the 2015 season.
  • Just a sophomore, goalkeeper Hannah George leads the NE10 and ranks second in the country in save percentage (.557). She also sits second in the conference and fourth nationally in goals-against average (6.20).
  • Offensively, the Dolphins are led by the duo of Nicole Delany and Bryanna Fazio, who both rank in the NE10's top 10 in goals. Delany leads the team with 55, one ahead of Fazio.
  • Sidney Hall and Erin McMullen have each totaled 40 goals this spring, giving the Dolphins four 40-goal scorers.
  • Fazio averages 7.24 draw controls per game, the eighth-highest mark in Division II, and has a team-high 123 for the season.

NE10 POSTSEASON ALL-TIME: Saint Anselm is 1-7 all-time in the NE10 Tournament with the team's lone victory coming in the first round, 17-10, against Bentley on Apr. 3, 2014. The Hawks' semifinal berth in 2014 marks the team's deepest run in the postseason tournament as Saint Anselm went on to its only NCAA Tournament appearance that season. Saint Anselm last appeared in the NE10 Tournament in 2015, falling to New Haven on the road, 13-9. Le Moyne is 10-6 all-time in the tournament and has made six finals appearances, winning the program's lone title in 2013.

THE SMITH FILE: Now in her third season, head coach Meghan Smith '12 has a career record of 21-28 at Saint Anselm. This season, she has led the Hawks to their highest totals in overall wins and NE10 victories since 2015. Smith concluded her career on the Hilltop as the program's all-time leader in points (244), goals (203) and draw controls (372) – she now ranks second in both goals and points while her draw control total is 199 more than any other Saint Anselm student-athlete.

ALL-TIME vs. LE MOYNE: Le Moyne has won all eight head-to-head matchups with Saint Anselm since the programs first met in 2011. The Dolphins have been ranked in the nation's top 10 in all eight meetings with two of their victories coming by a single goal (2013 and 2014).