By Anthony Caruso
It was a bittersweet homecoming for two members of the Trinity College (CT) women’s lacrosse team Sunday at the NCAA Division III championship game at PPL Park.
The Bantams (21-2) were ousted by Cortland, 17-6, spoiling the return of sophomore defender Kathryn DeLillio, of Tower Hill in Northern Delaware, and freshman defender Noelle Smith, of Moorestown Friends.
Despite the loss, DeLillio, a starter all year who had one groundball in the game, relished the chance to play on the big stage just miles from her home.
“It was awesome,” DeLillio said. “It was so much fun. We went to my house for team dinner, which is 20 minutes South.
“It was great to see all the support as a lot of my family and friends were able to come out. It’s nice being around home for once since we don’t normally get to play so close when we’re in New England.”
Both DeLillio and Smith, who did not play on Sunday, said that they had between 10-15 family members in attendance for their homecoming.
“I thought our effort was there, but it wasn’t clicking [yesterday],” DeLillio said. “We were trying our best, but sometimes, teams are better than you. Hopefully, next year, we’ll be back since it is going to be here as well.”
This was the first time that DeLillio came to PPL Park, the home of the MLS’ Philadelphia Union. However, Smith did previously attend a soccer game at the facility.
“I was here last year, and I thought this whole weekend was awesome,” Smith said. “Everyone is so cool, and we got to get dressed in the Union’s locker room, which was so cool. It was the coolest thing ever!”
The Bantams fell behind, 8-2, at halftime and pulled within 9-4 early in the second half before Cortland pulled away.
“I think we gave it everything that we had,” Smith said. “Some tough calls didn’t go our away, and that’s lacrosse when you have two great teams playing against each other.”
The Bantams, who were the No. 1 team in the country coming into this game, won 21 straight games and claimed the NESCAC championship after losing their opener to Colby. They will look to return to PPL Park next year for the Division III title game.
“I would say we had an awesome season,” DeLillio said. “We stumbled in our first game, but we didn’t look back after that game.
“We came out with a new mission, really strong and we’ve learned how to come back from deficits. Winning the conference for five years in a row is great, too. Overall, I’m really happy with our performance.”