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Philly coach Cantele, four Philly players helped Gettysburg win first NCAA lacrosse championship Sunday

Tuesday, 24th May 2011

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 5/24/11
Staff Report

Led by a Philly coach and four Philly players, Gettysburg College captured its first NCAA Division III championship of any kind in dominating fashion with a 16-5 victory over Bowdoin College in the women’s lacrosse finals held at Motamed Field on the campus of Adelphi University on Sunday.

Appearing in its second national final ever, Gettysburg (19-4) handily won its first national title in program history, and just the second national championship ever attained in school history. The 1980 field hockey team won the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division III title, a squad on which current women’s lacrosse coach Carol Cantele was a member.

Cantele is a graduate of the former nether Providence (now Strath Haven). The Philly players included junior captain and defender Lexi Kelly (Agnes Irwin), senior goalie Laura McIntyre (Coatesville), sophomore defender Alex Casey (Abington) and freshman attack Katie Blumenthal (Notre Dame).

In the championship win, Kelly paced the defense with two groundballs, two caused turnovers, and one draw control. Blumenthal scored once, Casey had a groundball and McIntyre played the final 2:28 in goal.

For Bowdoin, freshman midfielder Betsy Sachs (Germantown Friends) had one caused turnover.

“As intimate and exciting as it was for our own team (1980 field hockey), not many people knew we were doing it,” added Cantele. “We’ve had the college completely behind us, and the interest in the media, and that’s just so great for the sport and for women’s athletics, and great for, in particular, the girls here. They showcased themselves and the institution in the upmost fashion. It’s a whole different feeling and truthfully it’s so much fun to be an observer of it. It will really be a lasting memory.”

Most Outstanding Performer Hannah Church finished with a Gettysburg postseason record-tying eight points on five goals and three assists. Freshman Kelsey Markiewicz pumped in four goals for the second-straight day and added two assists and was also named All-Tournament, while junior goalie Maddie Coleman garnered All-Tournament accolades after posting nine saves in the final.

Joining the aforementioned trio on the NCAA All-Tournament team were sophomore Lindsey Robinson, who finished with one goal and three assists, and sophomore Mairead McGuirk, who led Gettysburg to a 13-10 advantage in draw controls.

Sunday’s finale was never in doubt as Gettysburg jumped out to 5-0 lead as four different players tickled the twine. Robinson started the run with a free-position shot for the game’s first goal at 25:09 and Church ended it with a move down the left side at 21:47.

After Bowdoin (18-4) put in its first goal, the Bullets went on another streak with six more shots finding pay-dirt. Pruitt benefitted from a pair of passes from Church and Robinson for two goals, while Markiewicz closed the run with back-to-back tallies from Robinson. Coleman was up to task in goal, stopping a pair of free-position shots at point-blank range at Gettysburg went up 11-1 with just over four minutes left in the first half.

The Polar Bears seemed to finally put some pieces together with the final goal of the first half and three of the first four goals of the second half, but the Bullets put the game to bed with each of the final four tallies. A quick shot in front of the net by Blumenthal off a feed from Pruitt at 6:22 sealed the game’s outcome.

Church’s eight points gave her 29 for the tournament, shattering the previous record of 25 set by The College of New Jersey’s Lauren Dougher in 2005. Church also set the tournament record for total goals with 26 and her 99 points this season is the fifth-highest in school history.

Pruitt finished with three goals and one assist and senior Marnie Commins and sophomore Lindsay Menton each tallied one goal, the latter adding one helper as well.

Coleman finished with 20 saves combined in the semifinal and championship games for Gettysburg. McIntyre closed out the final minutes of the championship win.

“I think it means an incredible amount to the three seniors,” said Cantele. “I think that Becky Lutz put it together well. It’s wonderful to end the season with a win, because then you can still be celebrating. It’s almost like something that will never end because it’s going to be hers and theirs forever. We’re nothing but smiles because they finished their work and in a fun, fine fashion. I think they’re going to just keep smiling, and it doesn’t end for them.”

Gettysburg dominated the game statistically with more shots (27-19), ground balls (17-13), and draw controls (13-10). The 11-goal differential was the biggest in the national title game since TCNJ defeated William Smith 29-11 in 1994.
Carolyn Gorejek and Katy Dissinger, the latter earning All-Tournament recognition, each tossed in a pair of goals for the Polar Bears. Tara Connolly was tabbed All-Tournament after posting five saves in goal.

“I just would say the whole season’s been an absolute joy,” said Cantele. “From the hard work and crazy weather, we made light of so many things while we were doing serious work. That’s a tough combination to have the camaraderie and joy amongst a very driven task at hand. I think that this group more than any group I’ve seen knew how to strike that balance of having fun and working, and having a goal. That’s what I will remember most – their ability to enjoy what they’re doing, and at the same time getting it done.”


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