April 19, 2012

WD3 Notebook: Trinity Staying on Right Track

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Megan Leonhard has 37 points this season, second most on Trinity, and is one of several juniors looking to make 2012 even better than 2011, when the Bantams fell in the NCAA quarterfinals.
© Trinity 

Trinity may have been ahead of schedule last season, going undefeated behind a solid core of sophomores. Luckily, the Bantams have followed up by repeating that success in 2012.

Trinity (12-0) is again unbeaten, this time thanks to strong upperclass leadership.

"Last year felt kind of fluky," said Trinity's coach Kate Livesay. "We were just like 'Wow this is awesome.' We certainly had an expectation of winning, but this year there's a little more."

That was evident Saturday against Middlebury, a team Trinity beat twice by one goal last season. This time the Bantams won 13-9. It was Middlebury's first loss all season and the first time its goalie, reigning IWLCA Goalie of the Year Lily Nguyen, allowed more than 10 goals all season.

"We had a good number of assisted goals," Livesay said. "That always gives you an edge against a talented goalie. We brought that focus into the game, knowing we did have to keep our eyes up. We wanted to spread it out. I thought we did a good job with that right away."

Six of Trinity's goals were assisted. Hadley Duncan led the way with four goals and one assists.

Duncan, who leads the team in goals (39) and points (41), is one of those juniors looking to make this season even better than the last. Her classmate Megan Leonhard is second on the team in points with 37. Seniors Caite Irvine (33-3-36) and Liz Bruno (15-15-30) have also cracked the 30-point plateau.

Last year's unbeaten season earned the Bantams the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they fell, 9-3, to NESCAC rival Bowdoin in the quarterfinals.

"We felt like that last game for us was flat," Livesay said. "We've taken a new focus that we have to get up for every game. We can't have any flat games."

They haven't. Despite playing in the NESCAC, which has eight Top 20 teams, Trinity has only won two games by less than four goals. Last season they had 10 such close calls, including seven wins by one goal.

"We just have a more balanced attack," Livesay said. "We started a lot of sophomores last year, now they're juniors and they're comfortable in their roles. We have a nice balance of speed and power. It just sort of combines to make us a hard team to play against."

That balance showed Tuesday in a 17-10 victory over Weslayan, when Trinity's eight first-half goals were scored by six different players.

Trinity can clinch its third straight regular-season title and the chance to host the NESCAC semifinals with a win in one of its last two games against No. 18 Hamilton (6-7) and No. 10 Amherst (9-3). If Trinity wins both, it clinches a second straight unbeaten regular season. But the Bantams aren't thinking about that.

"I don't think anyone's worried about being undefeated," Livesay said. "Our focus is just playing our best to put us in the situation where we can win... Our big focus is how we do when it matters."

Christopher Newport Sails Back To NCAAs

It must be the middle of April because Christopher Newport punched the NCAA tournament's first ticket on Saturday, defeating Shenandoah 13-9 for its seventh straight USA South Atlantic Conference title.

Sophomore Ashton Marshall was named the MVP of the tournament and had four goals and two assists in the title game.

CNU (14-1) then extended its program-record winning streak to 14 games on Tuesday with a 21-8 victory over Randolph-Macon. That streak will be put to the test in the lead up to the NCAA tournament as the Captains have non-league games against No. 13 Mary Washington (Thursday), Roanoke (Sunday) and No. 1 Salisbury (May 5).

Gettysburg Clinches Centennial's Top Seed

Junior Lindsey Robinson tied a personal best with nine points as No. 4 Gettysburg defeated a depleted Franklin & Marshall squad, 15-4, on Wednesday night. The victory clinches the Centennial Conference regular season title for Gettysburg (13-1).

The defending NCAA champion Bullets wrap up their conference slate against Bryn Mawr on Saturday and have a non-league contest against No. 15 Washington & Lee before the Centennial Tournament begins on Wednesday.

No. 7 F&M (12-3) wraps up its regular season against Dickinson (7-8) on Saturday, and with wins over Messiah, York, Washington & Lee and TCNJ already on its resume, remains a good bet to reach the NCAA tournament.

Sea Gulls Flying To CAC Tourney

No. 1 Salisbury clinched its 10th straight Capital Athletic Conference regular-season crown with a 21-3 victory over Wesley on Monday. The victory came on the heels of a great week for the Seagulls, who defeated No. 5 TCNJ, 12-10, on Friday and No. 19 Stevenson, 20-2, on Sunday.

With four Top 20 teams the CAC tournament, which begins this weekend, will be no cakewalk.

One threat to Salisbury supremacy may be No. 15 York (13-3), which tied a program record with for wins in a season with a 12-7 victory over St. Mary's (Md.) on Tuesday. The Spartans scored a big non-league victory earlier in the week, defeating No. 17 Stevens, 10-9.

Both York and Salisbury receive byes into Tuesday's CAC semifinals. Salisbury defeated York 16-8 on April 7. Saturday's opening round will feature Marymount at Mary Washington and St. Mary's at Stevenson.

Redlands Still Unbeaten

Redlands (13-0) defeated its two biggest contenders for the SCIAC crown last week, topping Occidental, 20-10, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 16-4, on Saturday.

It was the second victory by Redlands over both schools this season. The Bulldogs wrap up their regular season Sunday against Whittier.

Redlands is the only team to defeat Occidental (10-2) this year. The Tigers defeated CMS 15-13 on Wednesday. Two SCIAC teams received Pool B bids last season and Occidental and Redlands are making a strong case for that to happen again in 2012.

Norwich Is Too

Joining Redlands, Salisbury and Trinity as D-III's only remaining unbeatens is perennial Great Northeast champion, Norwich (9-0).

The Cadets passed their biggest conference test of the season on Tuesday, defeating Lasell 16-12. The victory was Norwich's 14th straight at home and 23rd straight in the GNAC and it stopped a 12-game winning streak for Lasell (12-2).

Mollie Fitzpatrick led Norwich with five goals and two assists.

Mark Macyk has covered Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.

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