Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/13/18
From Press Release
East Stroudsburg University, in its second straight – and second-ever – NCAA Division II women’s lacrosse tournament appearance – is the Atlantic Region champion for the first time in program history.
The Warriors (15-3) upended previously unbeaten West Chester (19-1), 16-14, on Saturday, advancing to the national semifinals and a match-up with defending national champion Florida Southern on Friday at the University of Tampa (Fla.).
Senior midfielder Chessie Rahmer (Souderton) scored three of her four goals in the second half, sophomore midfielder Hana Cicerelle had three goals and four assists, junior TJ Jefferis (Phoenixville) had three goals and an assist and sophomore goalkeeper Tatyana Petteway had 16 saves for the Warriors, who outscored WCU 9-5 in the second half and held the Golden Rams – who beat ESU 14-7 in the first meeting on March 28 – scoreless for more than 15 minutes until a late goal.
Third-year head coach Xeni Barakos-Yoder, a 2011 ESU graduate, improves to 44-11 in her third season at ESU with numerous milestones – 12-5 for a then-school record for wins her first year, followed by 17-3 and the first PSAC regular season and tournament titles and first NCAA Tournament trip in program history in 2017, and now the program’s first-ever regional title.
ESU, which trailed 6-1 in a 12-11 win vs. Mercyhurst in the first round on Friday for the first NCAA Tournament win in program history, fell behind early again in the regional final.
West Chester opened a 6-2 lead at the 12:11 mark of the first half, before ESU scored four straight in a five-minute stretch to tie it at 6-all. WCU led 9-7 at halftime.
The Warriors were impressive early in the second half, scoring three straight in the first 2:40 of the period to take a 10-9 lead, their first since it was 1-0.
After WCU tied it, ESU rattled off three more to complete a 6-1 stretch on goals by Rahmer, junior midfielder Emma Rufolo – who scored the game-winner 32 seconds left vs. Mercyhurst – and Rahmer again, assisted by Cicerelle, for a 13-10 lead with 19:26 left.
West Chester put together three straight to tie it at 13-all with 16:25 remaining, before ESU’s championship finish.
Cicerelle scored the go-ahead goal with 11:40 remaining, followed by goals by junior attack Jefferis and freshman attack Krista Mitarotonda (2 goals), to lead 16-13 with 6:55 left.
Petteway and the Warriors’ defense was dominant down the stretch, blanking WCU’s high-scoring offense (16.4 goals per game) from the 16:25 mark until Maggie Stella (4 goals, Central Bucks East) scored with 48 seconds left.
Rahmer won the ensuing draw control, and despite an ESU turnover with 30 seconds left, there wasn’t enough time for the Golden Rams to avoid their first and only loss of the season.
Along with Stella’s four goals, Emily Schulze (3 goals, assist, North Penn), Tatum Altman (2 goals, assist), Sami Barnett (2 goals, 1 assist, Interboro) and Tara Morrissey (2 goals, Bishop Shanahan) were also top scorers for West Chester, which was making its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance and won national titles in 2002 and 2008.
West Chester held advantages in shots (40-30), draw controls (18-12), ground balls (24-23) and even turnovers (24-19), but Petteway was a significant difference.
An IWLCA All-America third team selection as a freshman, Petteway had 10 saves in the first half and kept the Warriors close when WCU threatened to run away with the game.
Freshman defender Kayleigh Pokrivka, first team All-PSAC, had three caused turnovers and four ground balls.
Rahmer, an All-America third team midfielder last year and two-time first team All-PSAC, stepped up with three of ESU’s first six goals in the second half – giving her 48 on the season and 145 in her career, fourth-most in school history.
Cicerelle’s seven points put her over the 100-point mark for her career as a sophomore, with 44 goals and 23 assists in an impressive 2018 campaign that netted third team All-PSAC honors. She has 70 career goals and 36 assists for 106 points.
Mitartotonda, a first team All-PSAC selection this spring, now has 61 goals on the year. That total is the third most by a freshman in PSAC history.
In the draw control category, WCU owned the first half 12-4, but ESU emerged with an 8-6 margin in the second half – including four by sophomore midfielder Rylie Toomey, pressed into action due to an injury to senior midfielder Alicia Stratten.
West Chester entered the regional with the No. 5 national ranking by the IWLCA. ESU was No. 13, and Mercyhurst No. 17.
Florida Southern (20-1), ESU’s semifinal opponent, is listed No. 3 and advanced with a 19-10 win over No. 6 Florida Tech on Saturday. ESU fell to Florida Tech, 17-10, at Florida Southern last spring.
* Le Moyne will face Regis (Colo.) in the other national semifinal matchup at 3 p.m. on Friday. Le Moyne advanced past Adelphi as the No. 1 seed in the East region, while second-seeded Regis upset Lindenwood (No. 1 in the latest IWLCA national poll) 15-14 in double overtime in the Midwest Region final.
* ESU won its 2nd regional title this year, following men’s basketball
* ESU teams have won 12 regional titles across 7 sports in school history