YORK, Pa. – The No. 13 York College women's lacrosse team will square off against No. 5 Amherst College in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in Amherst, Mass.
The Spartans (15-4) enter Saturday's tilt after earning a thrilling come-from-behind 13-12 victory over No. 14 St. John Fisher. Midway through the second half of last Saturday's game, the Cardinals held a four-goal lead and had just finished a three-goal spurt that gave them a 12-8 lead over York. However, the Spartans went on a 5-0 run to finish the second half and take their first lead of the game.
IWLCA All-Metro Region First Team selection Erica Mulford (Crownsville, Md./Seton Keough) scored all three of her goals during York's 5-0 run, including the game-tying and game-winning goals. After her first goal, Mulford became just the second Spartan in program history to reach the 200-point milestone. York's season leader in goals (49) and points (59) has 202 career points on 155 goals and 47 assists.
York also received goals in its game against St. John's Fisher from its other top offensive weapons as All-Metro Region First Team selection Sarah Castle (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Christian), Brittany Noell (Silver Spring, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and Kerri Nicolich (Islip, N.Y./Islip) each tallied a pair of goals. Castle ranks second on the team with 26 goals, Nicolich is tied for third with 24 goals and Noell has the fourth highest goal total with 22.
York boasts five players with 20+ goals on the year, including Jocelyn Hudson (York, Pa./Central York) who has 24 goals and has been the Spartan ace on draw controls with 80 on the season.
The York defense is highlighted by two All-Metro Region First Team selections in Megan Strauch (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) and goalkeeper Ashley Smith (Cinnaminson, N.J/Cinnaminson). Strauch has anchored a defense that ranks 27th in the nation in scoring defense (8.00 gpg) as she ranks first on the team with 35 ground balls and second on the team 18 caused turnovers, in addition to ranking second on the team with 34 draw controls.
Smith has been a stellar net-minder for the Green and White as she ranks 15th in the country with a .515 save percentage. The senior has compiled 154 saves and a 8.41 goals-against average this season in 1034:40 minutes played this season.
For her career, Smith ranks second all-time in program history with 28 wins, while currently ranking first in save percentage (.499) and goals-against average (8.02).
With last Saturday's win over Bridgewater State University, Amherst (17-2) sits one victory shy of tying the school's single-season wins record set in 2003 (18). Currently in the middle of their 11th championship appearance, the Jeffs are 20-9 all-time in tournament play.
Scoring seven goals in the game's first five-plus minutes, Amherst opened its NCAA Tournament run with a decisive 20-4 triumph over Bridgewater. Eleven different Jeffs tallied goals, led by Caroline Holliday, who had four goals and two assists. Elizabeth Ludlow, Meghan Mills and Alex Philie each notched a hat-trick as Amherst finished with a commanding 29-9 shot advantage.
Headlining the Amherst attack is IWLCA All-Berkshire Region First Team selection Rachel Passarelli, who is fifth in the NESCAC in goals (38), while tying for sixth in free-position scores (10) and ranking ninth in points (47). Fellow All-Berkshire Region First Teamer Krista Zsitvay has 12 multi-goal games and sits amongst the conference's leaders in points (44), having recorded the second-most goals on the team (37).
A four-time first team all-region honoree and the NESCAC's inaugural Defensive Player of the Year, Philie also currently tops the league charts in caused turnovers (31), is tied for fourth in draw controls (52) and fifth in ground balls (35).
Christy Forrest, another first team all-region selection, currently owns the nation's lowest goals-against average (5.47), in addition to a .544 save percentage in 1130:13 minutes in net for the Jeffs.
Photo courtesy of David Sinclair