May 6, 2012

WD3 Tournament Bracket: Salisbury in Familiar Spot

Salisbury is one of the three Capital Athletic Conference teams to make the 31-team Division III women's tournament.
© Kevin P. Tucker

by Mark Macyk | | Full Bracket (PDF)

NCAA Brackets: MD1 | WD1 | MD2 | WD2 | MD3 | WD3
Analysis: MD1 | WD1 | MD2 | WD2 | MD3 | WD3

Thirty-one teams have hopes of raising the NCAA Division III women's lacrosse championship on May 20 at Montclair St. One of those teams is already one step closer. Salisbury, Division III's only undefeated team, received the tournament's top seed and a bye into the second round.

Salisbury (19-0), which has reached the championship game four times in the past seven seasons, is one of three Capital Athletic Conference teams to make the tournament, which trails only the NESCAC's four teams. The SUNYAC also sends three teams. Eighteen teams received automatic bids for winning their respective leagues.

Salisbury will play the winner of St. John Fisher (13-4) at Fredonia (14-4). Fredonia had won 12 of 13 before falling to Buffalo State in the SUNYAC semifinals. St. John Fisher upset Ithaca, 13-9, in the Empire Eight championship game Sunday. The Cardinals defeated Stevens the day before giving them wins over the No. 19 and No. 20 teams in the country in consecutive days.

Elsewhere in that region, Landmark champion Catholic (14-5) will host USA South Atlantic champion Christopher Newport (15-3). Catholic got past Susquehanna, 12-10, in the Landmark Championship game and has won 12 of its last 13. All three of Christopher Newport's losses have come to teams currently ranked in the Top 15.

The winner will face either Redlands (15-1) or Occidental (13-3). Both teams play in the SCIAC, which does not qualify for an automatic bid. Redlands finished up the best season in program history this week by defeating Occidental in the SCIAC title game, 10-7. All three of Oxy's losses have come to Redlands.

Defending NCAA champion Gettysburg (17-1) highlights a very competitive region in the bottom corner of the bracket. In the first round the Bullets host CSAC champion Cabrini (10-8), which is making its ninth NCAA appearance.

The winner of that faces Adrian (17-2) or Denison (14-4), both of which are making a second straight visit to the tournament. Adrian has won 12 in a row and 15 of its past 16 and lost both its games by one goal in overtime to NCAA tournament teams. Denison defeated Wittenberg, 11-9, in the North Coast championship game, avenging a two-goal loss from the previous week.

It will be a Green Mountain state showdown when five-time NCAA champion Middlebury (12-4) hosts Norwich (14-1). Middlebury has lost four of seven after an unbeaten start, but reached the NESCAC final where it fell to Trinity by one. Norwich had won 14 straight before falling to NCAA tournament team Castleton St., in a non-league tuneup on Wednesday.

Montclair State (13-5) will host the Final Four and a first round game. The Skyline champion Red Hawks host York (14-4), which earned an at-large bid after capping the best season in program history with a trip to the CAC finals.

SUNYAC champion Cortland (17-1) is the top seed in the next region and will host Castleon State (12-6), which earned the NEWLA's automatic bid. Cortland has won 16 straight since losing to Salisbury by one on March 7. The winner of that game will face a school with Washington in its name as Mary Washington (13-4) hosts Washington and Lee (14-4).

The potential exists for an awesome quarterfinal in this region with TCNJ (14-3), which hosts Elizabethtown, and Amherst (12-4), which hosts Keene State, lurking as potential foils for Cortland. TCNJ's first round matchup won't be easy. Elizabethtown upset Messiah, 12-7, in the Commonwealth Conference championship. Amherst had won six straight before falling to Middlebury in the NESCAC semifinals. Little East champion Keene State has won four straight and 13 of 14.

NESCAC champion Trinity (16-1) leads the next region and hosts Bridgewater State (12-7) in the first round. Bridgewater State defeated Westfield State, 6-5, in overtime to capture the NEWLA title and has won nine out of its last 10 games.

The winner will face either host Buffalo State (13-6) or NEWMAC champion Springfield (11-7). Springfield ended Babson's run of NEWMAC dominance with a 10-6 victory in the championship game. Buffalo State received an at large bid. The Bengals had won five straight before falling to Cortland in the SUNYAC championship game.

Colby (13-2) had a fantastic regular season, but was upset by Hamilton in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. The Mules' regular season success was enough to earn an at large bid and they will host Endicott (12-5). Endicott captured another Commonwealth Coast championship and should be prepared for Colby thanks to a tough non-league schedule that featured three NESCAC opponents.

It took until the final game for Messiah (15-3) to learn it had earned an at-large bid. The Falcons had won eight straight before falling to Elizabethtown in the Commonwealth Conference championship game. Prior to that loss Messiah had lost twice in overtime to Top 20 teams. Messiah will host RPI (16-1) which emerged to fill the Liberty League power void left by Hamilton and lost just one game by one goal this season.

NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament First-Round Games

Wednesday, May 9 (all times Eastern)

St. John Fisher (13-4) at Fredonia (14-4) – 7 p.m.
Christopher Newport (15-3) at Catholic (14-5) – 3 p.m.
Occidental (13-3) at Redlands (15-1) - 10 p.m.
Cabrini (10-8) at Gettysburg (17-1) - 3 p.m.
Denison (14-4) at Adrian (16-2) - 7 p.m.
Norwich (13-1) at Middlebury (12-4) - 3 p.m.
York (Pa.) (14-4) at Montclair St. (13-5) - 3 p.m.
Castleton St. (12-6) at Cortland (17-1) - 3 p.m.
Washington & Lee (14-4) at Mary Washington (13-4) - 3 p.m.
Elizabethtown (13-5) at TCNJ (14-3) - 3 p.m.
Keene St. (14-3) at Amherst (12-4) - 7 p.m.
Bridgewater St. (12-7) at Trinity (16-1) - 7 p.m.
Springfield (11-7) at Buffalo State (13-6) - 3 p.m.
Endicott (12-5) at Colby (13-2) - 7 p.m.
RPI (16-1) at Messiah (15-3) - 3 p.m.

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