The William Smith College lacrosse team will take on Meredith in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday, May 8, at Franklin and Marshall in Lancaster, Pa. Opening draw is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Shadek Stadium.
The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the second round where they will meet the host, No. 1 Franklin & Marshall at 4 p.m. This year’s tournament will be conducted at predetermined sites. The Diplomats will also play host to two other first round games on Saturday.
The Herons are making their fifth straight and 21st overall NCAA appearance. William Smith is 8-4 and earned an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the Liberty League title for the fifth straight time. The Herons moved up three spots to No. 16 in the IWLCA poll, following their 17-13 win against then seventh-ranked Ithaca in the conference championship game.
William Smith is led by sophomore Maddie Montgomery. The Liberty League Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player has 41 goals, six assists and 47 points. She was named this week’s Liberty League Offensive Player of the Week following a 10-point performance in the conference tournament. She scored eight goals in two game, including a career-high six against the Bombers. Montgomery had a career-high nine draw controls against Ithaca on Saturday, finishing the week with 16. Senior Ellie Burns is second on the team with 21 goals and 24 points. Her next goal will be the 100th of her career.
Defensively the Herons are led by the duo of senior Mekayla Montgomery and Ellen Arena. The William Smith defense leads the Liberty League and is 59th in the nation in scoring defense (9.25). They also lead the Liberty League in caused turnovers per game (10.92). Montgomery leads the Herons with 51 draw controls, 29 caused turnovers and 39 ground balls. Arena is second on the team with 21 caused turnovers and 28 ground balls. She was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week following a six caused turnover and seven ground ball performance in the Liberty League tournament.
First-year Maddie Bamberger has played the majority of the minutes in goal and is 8-2 with an 8.21 GAA and a .426 save percentage. She leads the Liberty League and is 31st in the nation in GAA. Bamberger was named the Liberty League Rookie of the Week after recording a pair of wins last week.
Meredith brings an 11-3 overall record into the tournament. The Avenging Angels earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after winning the USA South Athletic Conference championship 26-8 over Piedmont. Meredith is making its sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament. Meredith ranks in the top 10 in the nation in assists per game (5th, 10.89), scoring offense (6th, 19.29) and points per game (10th, 17.14).
Lila Cruz leads the team with 76 points on 59 goals and 17 assists. Maya Flake is right behind her with 74 points on 25 goals and a team best 49 assists. Olivia Blake has 47 goals and 22 assists for 69 points. Cruz also has a team best 93 draw controls and Jessica Dowdy has won 83 draws. Ansley Harris leads the Avenging Angels with 16 caused turnovers. Joy Deitrich has played a majority of the minutes in goal. She is 11-3 with a 9.90 GAA and a .453 save percentage.
Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between William Smith and Meredith in women’s lacrosse.
More details regarding coverage of the game will be provided later in the week.