YORK, Pa. - The No. 13 York College women's lacrosse team will make its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament and will face No. 14 St. John Fisher College on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Kinsley Field on the campus of York College.
The Spartans (14-4, 6-1 CAC) earned an At-Large bid to the NCAA Tournament after finishing second in the Capital Athletic Conference in the regular season and advancing to the CAC title game for the third year in a row. The home game for York marks the second consecutive year that the Green and White will have the opportunity to host a game in the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans knocked off Washington & Lee 13-6 last spring for their first ever NCAA Tournament victory.
The Cardinals (15-4, 6-1 EMPIRE 8) won the Empire 8 Conference for the third consecutive year. The Cardinals earned the automatic bid with a 6-3 win over top-seeded and No. 18 ranked Ithaca College in the title game last Saturday. The Cardinals dropped their NCAA Tournament game last May as they fell to RPI, 13-8, in the opening round of the tournament.
York is 1-2 all time in the NCAA Tournament while St. John Fisher has an overall NCAA Tournament mark of 2-4.
YCP enters Saturday's tilt with 10 different players in double-digit point totals and eight in double-digit goal totals, including five with 20+ goals.
The York offense is led by All-CAC first team attack Erica Mulford (Crownsville, Md./Seton Keough) who leads the team in points (56) and goals (46), in addition to ranking fourth in the CAC in goals. Mulford has a chance to reach an exclusive milestone when she takes the field on Saturday as she needs just one point to reach 200 points for her career. Mulford would be just the second Spartan to reach such mark, joining York's all-time leading scoring Kim Wayson.
The Spartan offense has also received production from two other All-CAC selections in Sarah Castle (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Christian) and Jocelyn Hudson (York, Pa./Central York). The duo is tied for second on the team with 24 goals each and has combined for 55 points.
The York defense is highlighted by two all-conference selections in Megan Strauch (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) and goalkeeper Ashley Smith (Cinnaminson, N.J/Cinnaminson). Strauch has helped lead a defense that ranks 21st in the nation in scoring defense (7.78 gpg) as she ranks first on the team and eighth in the CAC with 35 ground balls, in addition to ranking second on the team and 11th in the conference with 17 caused turnovers.
Smith has been a solid force between the pipes for the Green and White as she ranks first in the CAC and 14th in the country with a .520 save percentage. The senior net-minder ranks second in the conference in both saves (144) and goals-against average (8.19).
The Cardinals roll into Saturday with the top-ranked offense in the Empire 8, scoring 13.32 goals per game while getting production from 11 double-digit goal scorers and 12 players in double-digit point totals. The Fisher offense is led by Empire 8 Player of the Year Taylor Hughes who ranks fifth in the conference in goals (44), ninth in assists (16) and fourth in points (60). Hughes will conclude her career in a Fisher uniform as the most prolific scorer in program history. She ranks first all-time in goals (212), assists (87) and points (299), while ranking second in ground balls and draw controls.
Fisher has also received big offensive production from Empire 8 First Team selection Samantha Barton who ranks second on the team with 40 goals and eighth overall in the conference with 52 total points. Barton also ranks 14th in the conference in draw controls, while she leads the team with 37 ground balls.
The Fisher defense, which ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense (6.47 gpg), is anchored by three Empire 8 All-Conference selections. Senior defender Jill Zerrillo played a big role in helping the Cardinals achieve a conference-low 123 goals allowed this season. Zerrillo ranked second on the team with 18 caused turnovers and 34 ground balls, while she also contributed on the offensive end of the field by scoring 12 goals.
Another member of the Cardinal defense is Marykate Edmunds who ranks sixth in the conference with 22 caused turnovers, while her 34 ground balls ranks second on the team. She ranks second all-time at Fisher with 73 caused turnovers.
Logan Barnard is the third Fisher defender to earn all-conference honors as she ranked 12th in the Empire 8 with 18 caused turnovers and ranks among the program's best in caused turnovers with 61 in her career.
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Photo courtesy of David Sinclair