NCAA Tournament Central
Final Four/Championship Schedule
Final Four: Kerr Stadium; Salem, Virginia
Friday: 12 p.m. (#8 F&M vs. #1 Middlebury)
Friday: 3 p.m. (#3 William Smith vs. #9 Gettysburg)
Friday: 12 p.m. (#8 F&M vs. #1 Middlebury)
Friday: 3 p.m. (#3 William Smith vs. #9 Gettysburg)
Sunday: 12 p.m. (Friday winners)
Sunday: 12 p.m. (Friday winners)
First Meeting: March 27, 2014 (Middlebury won, 14-5)
Series Record: Middlebury leads, 2-1
Streak: Middlebury +1
Last 10: 1-2
Last F&M Victory: March 29, 2017 (F&M won 9-8 (OT))
Last Middlebury Victory: May 19, 2019 (Middlebury won 16-34
Middlebury won 16-4 against F&M on its way to the 2019 national championship
First Meeting: May 14, 1994 (William Smith won, 16-14)
Series Record: William Smith leads 4-2
Streak: William Smith +1
Last 10: 2-4
Last F&M Victory: March 15, 2007
Last William Smtih Victory: May 9, 2021 (William Smith won, 13-5)
William Smith Information
F&M and Pomona-Pitzer would be meeting for the first time in program history.
First Meeting: April 26, 1977 (Gettysburg won, 13-5)
Series Record: F&M leads, 35-33-1
Streak: F&M +1
Last 10: 5-5
Last F&M Victory: May 7, 2023 (F&M won, 15-14) - CC Championship
Last Gettysburg Victory: April 19, 2023 (Gettysburg won, 14-5)
The rivalry left off with F&M claiming a 15-14 win in the 2023 Centennial Championship
Last Time Out
Franklin & Marshall advanced to the Final Four for the 12th time in program history (ninth in the NCAA era) following an 18-13 win against No. 18 Pomona-Pitzer last Sunday afternoon. The Diplomats (18-4) will be making their first appearance in the national semifinals since back-to-back trips during the 2015 and 2016 seasons after defeating both Denison (15-6 in Sweet 16) and Pomona-Pitzer during their weekend at Kenyon.
Against Pomona-Pitzer, the Diplomats put the pressure on early and rode that strong opening half to a win as they were up 7-3 following a strong 15 minutes, but added to that advantage during a 5-1 second quarter. Four different F&M players recorded hat tricks in the victory, led by five goals and one assist from Sydney Lowe. Gillian Brennan added four goals and one assist, with Lydia Cassilly (3 g, 3a) and Maddy Birch (3g) routinely finding their chances to score. Lane Lambeth (2g) and Lauren Pittman (1g, 1a) also had multiple points throughout the victory.
Franklin & Marshall finished the game with a 32-19 advantages in shots. Alyssa Moran tied for the game high with four saves. The Diplomats once again held the advantage in draw controls, snagging a 20-15 edge in the restarts. Ava Turner was huge on those restarts as she grabbed eight draw controls. Madison Bray, Julia Carbon, and Lambeth each had at least three draw controls. F&M also gained a number of extra possessions by limiting the Sage Hens to just 13-of-19 on their clear attempts. Kate McLam and Moran each caused a pair of turnovers to lead 12 Diplomats who forced at least one giveaway.
To get to the Elite 8 - the team's 24th such appearance all-time - F&M was led by Maddy Birch (4 goals) and Lane Lambeth (3 goals) who paced nine different goal scorers for the Diplomats. Lambeth was especially precise with her shooting as she rattled the back of the cage with each of her three shots on goal. Birch tied for the team in points with Lydia Cassilly (2 goals, 2 assists) and Lauren Pittman (1 goal, 3 assists).
F&M finished the Denison game with a 40-21 advantage in shots on goal thanks in part to a defense that limited Denison just 14-of-20 on its clearing attempts. Delaney Liston forced two of the Diplomats' nine caused turnovers on the afternoon. During the limited chances the Big Red had on the attack, Alyssa Moran stepped up to stop six of those 12 shots on goal before Molly Donatelli finished off the final minutes of the NCAA Tournament victory.
Last Time vs. Middlebury
Playing a top-five matchup in the 2019 Elite 8, No. 5 Franklin & Marshall dropped a 16-4 contest to No. 3 Middlebury. Middlebury took an early 5-0 lead all from the eight-yard mark. F&M's offense broke through in the 13th minute of action, firing off two goals in thirty seconds. Caroline Kolva got things going with the free-position goal at the 18:31 mark. Marissa McGarrey followed off the dish from Maddie Hughes to bring the Diplomats within three at 5-2. The Panthers ended the half with five unanswered goals to take an 10-2 edge at the break. Emily Kitchin (11-2) delivered a stellar performance with 13 saves on the day. Emma Arronson cemented the defense with three caused turnovers and Blair Atkins and Ally Marino came up with four draw controls each.
Last Time vs. William Smith
The Diplomats welcomed William Smith to Shadek Stadium for the second round of the 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament, but fell 13-5 against the visiting Herons. After taking a 2-1 lead at 24:52 in the first half, the Diplomats gave up 12 straight goals to fall at home to the Herons. Just eight of 17 Diplomat shots were on goal, as an aggressive Heron defense kept the offense stymied for nearly 45 minutes of game time. Megan Jackson led the way with her three second half goals, while Ally Marino picked up a goal and two assists. Erin Phillips picked up two ground balls, while Tabitha Rodriguez caused two turnovers with three draw controls. Blair Atkins and Marissa McGarrey also earned three draw controls on the afternoon. Emily Kitchin made eight saves in the cage.
Last Time vs. Gettysburg
Franklin & Marshall won its ninth Centennial Conference Championship in program history with a thrilling 15-14 win at Gettysburg earlier this month. That win avenged the Diplomats' regular season result against the Bullets and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The title was F&M's second in three seasons. Gillian Brennan was named the Centennial Conference Tournament MVP as she scored four goals and assisted on two more during the championship game, with her efforts being aided by hat tricks from Lydia Cassilly and Lauren Pittman. Seven different players in total scored during the win as F&M used a 7-3 fourth quarter advantage to complete the thrilling come-from-behind win in which they did not lead until the 9:51 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Diplomats found themselves down 6-2 after 15 minutes as Sydney Lowe and Maddy Birch opened up the scoring for F&M. Strong defense got F&M back into the game as it held Gettysburg scoreless during the second period while goals from Brennan and Lowe got the score to 6-4 at the break. Cassilly, Adde Hollander, Lane Lambeth, and Pittman all added their name to the score sheet during the third quarter, but Franklin & Marshall was still facing an 11-8 deficit with just over 15 minutes to play.
Franklin & Marshall quickly closed that remaining gap with a four-goal surge to start the fourth quarter. Cassilly opened the scoring during the final period with her goal at the 13:34 before Brennan scored just 14 seconds later to bring her team within a single goal. The Cassilly-Brennan scoring combination continued to work as Cassilly knotted the game at 11-all with 11:16 in regulation before Brennan gave F&M its first lead of the day, 12-11, with 9:51 to play following her free-position shot.
The Bullets were not going to go away without a fight on their home field as they scored three of the next four goals and were holding a 14-13 advantage after a goal at the 5:24 mark. Things certainly were not made easier on the Diplomats when they were issued a green card and yellow card in short order, but that made little difference to Brennan as she tied the game at 14-all with 3:06 left in regulation despite Franklin & Marshall having one less field player. Gettysburg won the ensuing draw, but goalie Alyssa Moran came up huge with one of her nine saves on the afternoon to gain the possession back. Despite losing the ball in transition, Belle Dintino restored order with a caused turnover that came with just two minutes to play before Pittman scored the eventual game-winning goal with 1:04 showing on the clock.
The 2019 and 2022 NCAA National Championships come into this weekend as the No. 1 team in the country having won 68 of their last 69 games. That includes a perfect 21-0 record this season and a 22-1 year last fall en route to the national championship. The Panthers won 22 in a row en route to the 2019 national championship that was followed by a 3-0 start to 2020 and opt-out of the 2021 season. The Panthers are outscoring their opponents by over 11 goals per game this season with both Jane Earley (57g, 30a) and Hope Shue (72g, 18a) closing in on 100 points for the season. Five different Middlebury players have scored at least 30 goals this season. The Panthers also own a 364-209 cumulative advantage in draw controls, paced by 130 from Earley. Annie Enrietto has started all 21 games this season and is stopping over 45 percent of the shots she has faced while allowing just 6.71 goals per game. The Panthers had four players named first-team All-Americans by the IWLCA and had another third-team honoree in the release.
William Smith also enters the Final Four at 21-0 on the season. The Herons are certainly no strangers to the national stage either as they have made 23 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including year since 2016. The Herons are led by former Franklin & Marshall coach Annie Phillips who helped the Diplomats to their first NCAA Championship in program history. William Smith has scored 330 goals this season, while allowing just 132. Maddie Montgomery paces the offense with 82 goals, while Kaitlin Pellechia (40 goals) and Katherine Murray (37 goals) are also threats offensively. Montgomery and Natalie Daniels have won 89 and 86 draw controls, respectively. Goalie Maura Smeader is stopping over 51 percent of the shots she has faced this year while allowing just 6.47 goals per game. Montgomery, Allie McGinty, and Kate Risley were each recognized as IWLCA All-Americans this season.
There is no need for introductions between the Diplomats and Bullets as these teams have established themselves not only as powers in the Centennial Conference, but nationally as well. The Bullets won the regular season meeting this year, but F&M exacted its revenge with a thrilling come-from-behind win to take the Centennial Conference Championship. Jordan Basso, Lily Macatee, and Caroline Sullivan were each named All-Americans for the Bullets this season. Basso, who was also the Centennial Conference Attacker of the Year, has registered 109 points behind 72 goals and 37 assists. Macatee, the Centennial's Defensive Player of the Year, has 121 draw controls on the year and is leading the team with 23 caused turnovers. The Bullets defeated No. 2 Washington and Lee by an 11-8 score and officially punched their ticket to the Final Four with a convincing 17-8 victory against York (Pa.). Goalie Gillian Cortese is allowing just 7.82 goals per game and is stopping just over 48 percent of the shots she has faced this season.
F&M 2023 All-Americans
Lydia Cassilly – Second-team IWLCA & Third-team USA Lacrosse
Cassilly earned the first All-America honors of her career following all-region and Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year honors in 2022. She has started all 44 games of her F&M career and scored 53 goals while assisting on 23 others during the 2023 season. Cassilly already ranks 11th in school history with 19 free-position goals entering the final weekend of her sophomore season. She is additionally in the top 26 players in career assists (53) and has registered 154 points, averaging 3.50 points per game. Her average per game in points, goals (2.30), and assists (1.20) all rank in the top 15 in program history for a career.
Belle Dintino – Third-team IWLCA & Second-team USA Lacrosse
Dintino earns All-America honors from both organizations during her rookie campaign after starting every game for the F&M defense. Dintino has already caused 27 turnovers, scooped up 40 ground balls, and secured 28 draw controls. She additionally scored on her only shot of the year during the 11-10 win at Catholic. Dintino's 1.23 caused turnovers per game are already the fifth-highest total in program history. Her ground ball (1.82) and draw control (1.27) averages per game are the 19th and 24th best marks for a career, respectively. Those 27 turnovers are the 16th-most in a single season at Franklin & Marshall heading into the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Maddy Birch – Third-team IWLCA & Honorable mention USA Lacrosse
Birch earned All-America honors during her senior season after setting career highs in both goals (43) and points (60), adding 17 assists to her offensive totals. Birch has converted five free-position goals on the season and eclipsed the 100 point mark for her career earlier this year. The recent graduate currently sits at 85 goals and 49 assists over the past four years. She has tallied three game-winning goals this season and has a total of seven game-winners throughout her time with the Diplomats. Birch moved into the top 30 in program history with 49 career assists after helping the Diplomats to Sweet 16 and Elite 8 victories this past weekend. Her five women-up goals this season are the fifth-highest single-season total in program history.
Madison Bray – First-team USA Lacrosse
Bray earned first-team All-America honors following another outstanding junior campaign where she has already collected 80 draw controls, picked up 25 ground balls, and caused 13 turnovers. In addition to being recognized for her defensive efforts, Bray has contributed a career-best 23 assists to go along with 12 more goals to her 35 point season. Bray is currently the program's all-time leader with 3.78 draw controls per game and ranks fourth with 189 career draw controls to date. Her 80 draw controls this season are the third-most in a year at F&M, with one of those higher totals coming in 2022 when she snagged 107 draw controls for the second-highest total in program history.
Lane Lambeth – Honorable mention USA Lacrosse
Lambeth has started all but one of F&M's games this spring and has broken out offensively with 38 goals this spring. She has scored on over half of her 75 shots in 2023 while contributing 25 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. Scoring six times on women-up chances for the third-highest single-season total at F&M, her 46 draw controls currently rank as the 22nd highest mark in a season. Lambeth has also converted seven free-position chances into goals en route to the first All-America honors of her career during her sophomore campaign.
Franklin & Marshall in the Final Four (5-6 all-time)
1981: Franklin & Marshall 10, Wheaton (Mass.) 6 - AIAW Semifinals
1982: Millersville 9, Franklin & Marshall 8 - AIAW Semifinals
1983: Franklin & Marshall 12, Ithaca 4 - USWLA Semifinals
1991: Ursinus 7, Franklin & Marshall 3
1993: College of New Jersey 11, Franklin & Marshall 9
2007: Franklin & Marshall 13, Gettysburg 8
2008: Franklin & Marshall 14, College of New Jersey 12
2009: Franklin & Marshall 16, Hamilton 13
2010: Hamilton 12, Franklin & Marshall 7
2015: Trinity 11, Franklin & Marshall 6
2016: Trinity 6, Franklin & Marshall 2
Franklin & Marshall in the National Championship (2-3 all-time)
1981: Trenton State (TCNJ) 7, Franklin & Marshall 6 - AIAW National Championship
1983: Ursinus 10, Franklin & Marshall 5 - USWLA National Championship
2007: Franklin & Marshall 11, Salisbury 8
2008: Hamilton 13, Franklin & Marshall 6
2009: Franklin & Marshall 11, Salisbury 10 (OT)