Bridgewater State to Take on 10th Ranked Stevens in NCAA First Round

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University women's lacrosse team will take on the tenth ranked Ducks of Stevens Institute of Technology in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Division III Tournament on Wednesday at 3:00 PM in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Under the guidance of sixth-year Head Coach Erika Smith, the Bears (17-1) will be making their second straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship and third overall after capturing the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA) Tournament title this past weekend with a 15-8 win over Castleton State. The NEWLA championship was the Bears fourth straight and sixth overall.

Smith, the NEWLA Coach of the Year, became the Bears' all-time winningest coach earlier this season. In her six seasons at the helm, she has directed her teams to an overall record of 74-31 (.705).

Stevens (15-3), who will also be making their third trip to the NCAAs, won the Empire Eight Tournament with a 10-9 victory over Ithaca College. The Ducks, who are led by Head Coach Celine Cunningham (9th Year), are ranked tenth in the most recent Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division III poll.

Bridgewater is led by their senior tandem of attacker Jenny Jones (Framingham, Mass.) and midfielder Courtney Lennon (Medfield, Mass.). Jones leads the team with 73 goals and 99 points to go along with 34 controlled draws, while Lennon checks in with 48 goals and a team-leading 31 assists as well as 18 caused turnovers and 31 draws.

Jones is also the Bears' all-time leading goal scorer with 290 career markers. She is also second all-time in points with 376. Lennon eclipsed the 300-point milestone in the championship game win over Castleton as she has amassed 190 goals and 111 assists for 301 points.

NEWLA Defensive Player of the Year, Bethany Bush (Littleton, Mass.) has produced team-high totals of 28 caused turnovers and 42 ground balls. She anchors an outstanding defensive unit that includes 2009 and 2010 NEWLA Defensive Player of the Year, Erin Quimby (Chelmsford, Mass.), senior Kasey Sheehan (Bridgewater, Mass.) and sophomore Shelby Farland (Fiskdale, Mass.).

The defensive foursome has been instrumental in helping the team as well as senior netminder Katie Weber (Arlington, Mass.) set the single-season program mark with 17 wins. Weber, who has started all 18 games in 2011 after serving as the backup netminder in each of her first three seasons, has posted a 7.53 goals against average to go along with 105 saves.

Other key offensive contributors for the Bears are junior attack Kristin White (Pelham, Mass.) and sophomore attack Jill Caramello (Duxbury, Mass.). White has scored 43 goals and is tied with Lennon for the team lead in assists with 31. In three seasons, she has amassed 118 goals and 186 points. The rookie Caramello also has produced 43 goals including a team-high six game-winners.

The BSU midfield is bolstered by the veteran presence of senior Patricia Maloney (Walpole, Mass.) as well as sophomore Michelle Navoni (Mansfield, Mass). Maloney has 21 goals and ten assists to her credit as well as a team-best 48 controlled draws. In fact, she is second all-time at Bridgewater in career draws with 160. Navoni has added ten goals and six assists in addition to 27 ground balls, 19 draws and 13 caused turnovers.

Over the last three years Stevens has posted a record of 48-8. In 2011, the Ducks faced seven teams in the tournament field of 31.

The Ducks are led on the defensive front by senior Kate Cox (Aston, Pa.) and junior Ashley Carey (Mahopac, N.Y.). The duo has combined for 68 ground balls, 63 caused turnovers, and 42 draw controls with Carey being named the MVP of the Empire 8 Championship.

Offensively, the Ducks have five players with 40 or more points. Junior attack Michelle Buonacuore (Medford, N.J.) leads the team with 67 points and senior attack Pamela Loria (New Providence, N.J.) has 60. Senior midfielder Christine Smith is the team's top scorer with 43 goals (54 points), while junior attack Jenna Scheibling (Long Valley, N.J.) and sophomore midfielder Spencer Waybright (West Hartford, Conn.) have 53 and 40 points respectively.

The NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship provides for a 31-team tournament. Fifteen first-round games will be conducted May 11 at campus sites. Eight second-round games will be conducted on May 13 or May 14, and four quarterfinal-round games will be conducted on May 14 or May 15. The second and quarterfinal-round games will be contested at four regional sites on the campuses of participating institutions. Winners of the four regionals will advance to the semifinals and final, to be played May 21-22 at Motamed Field at Adelphi University, in Garden City, New York. Adelphi will serve as host for the championship.

Courtsey of Bridgewater State Athletics.