NCAA Championship: #2 Franklin & Marshall (20-1) vs. #1 Salisbury (20-1)

NCAA Championship: #2 Franklin & Marshall (20-1) vs. #1 Salisbury (20-1)

May 17, 2009

NCAA National Championship | Donald J. Kerr Stadium | Roanoke College | Salem, Va. | 3:00 p.m.

Live Stats: http://www.odaconline.com/ncaawlax/

Where to Watch: The game will be aired live on CBS College Sports TV. DirecTV - 613, DISH Network 152, Comcast Lancaster (274).

Series History: Salisbury leads the series 6-2 with both F&M wins coming in the 2007 Championship season. The Diplomats won the regular season meeting 8-7 at Sponaugle-Williamson Field, and then wrapped up the 21-0 NCAA Championship season with an 11-8 win over the Gulls.

Salisbury handed F&M a 10-9 loss in Lancaster on March 29th, snapping a 35-game home unbeaten streak for F&M. It was the only home loss the current crop of seniors have suffered in their careers.  

The Last Meeting: Sarah Clemmens free position goal was the difference as #1 Salisbury squeaked out a 10-9 win at #3 Franklin & Marshall. The Sea Gulls (10-1) victory marked the first time the Diplomats (8-1) had dropped at home in 35 games.  Clemmens netted the game-winner with 8:19 left to play as Salisbury cashed in from eight meters for the fourth time in the contest. The Gulls took seven free position shots in the game. Beth Rhodey scored twice on the free position, including the Sea Gulls first marker at 25:29.

Championship Weekend: This weekend marks F&M's third-straight appearance in the season's final weekend. The Diplomats are 3-1 on championship weekend. The championship field accounts for all three of F&M's losses in the past two years. Two losses came against Salisbury in the regular season and the other was against with the other coming against Hamilton in last year's championship game.

On the Line (Besides the Trophy): For the third time in six seasons, Salisbury will try to win the program's first-ever NCAA Division III national championship in women's lacrosse. F&M is looking to bring home the school's third national championship in a team sport. The previous championships came to Lancaster on the legs of the 1985 women's cross country team and the 2007 women's lax team.

Salisbury's Road to Salem: The Sea Gulls scored 18 goals in each of the regional games on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Salisbury ended Babson's tournament with an 18-7 showing and then took down Capital Athletic Conference opponent, Catholic, 18-14.

Salisbury Last Night: The top-ranked Sea Gulls scored two late goals against No. 7 Gettysburg College to win 11-10. Salisbury (20-1) trailed 10-9 with less than eight minutes left in the game.

F&M's Road to Salem: Franklin & Marshall earned its third-straight NCAA automatic qualifier with a 14-7 win over Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference Championships. The Diplomats hosted a formidable regional round taking down #6 Union 15-5 in the regional semifinal before knocking off #8 Tufts 12-7 in the regional semifinal.

F&M Last Night: The Diplomats handed Hamilton a 16-13 setback in last night's semifinal - a rematch of last year's title game.

Pritchard's Record Collection: Where to begin? Jen Pritchard's fourth goal of the game against Tufts reset the NCAA Division III record for career goals scored in the postseason at 47 - she extended it to 48. She already held the record for most goals in an NCAA tourney (19 in 2007). That same aforementioned goal reset the Centennial Conference record for goals scored in a career at 262.  Later in the game, she scored on a free position shot that made her the all-time points leader at Franklin & Marshall with 313, besting Lauren Petrella's '94 record of 312.

Pritchard's dual record-breaking goal was the 24th game-winner of her career (owns that record at F&M too). It was also her seventh of the season, leaving her one short of her own record for game-winning goals in a season set back in 2007.

Pritchard Still Streaking: Jen Pritchard extended her NCAA record scoring streak to 68 consecutive games. She has scored in 82 of the 83 games she has played in her career. The only game she did not score in was an April meeting with Bryn Mawr when Pritchard was a freshman. Pritchard is the only member of the team that has started and played all 83 games since this group of seniors came to F&M. The longest NCAA DIII Scoring Streaks...

68 games - Jen Pritchard, Franklin & Marshall, 2006-09 *
59 games - Lauren Carrier, St. Mary's, 2006-09
58 games - Caitlyn Murphy, Lasell, 2006-09
56 games - Alyssa Pigott, Stevens, 2007-09 *
52 games - Megan Wallenhorst, Lycoming, 2006-08
49 games - Brooke VandeWalker, Cortland State, 2000-02
47 games - Sara Hiller, Muhlenberg, 2006-09
45 games - Liz Baumbach, Scranton, 2001-03

* streak still active

Stellar Seniors: In their four years to date, F&M's group of seniors has piled up an overall record of 75-8 and a record of 37-1 in games against Centennial Conference opponents. The group has posted a record of 42-1 on their homefield and owns just about all of the major season and career statistical records tracked.

Meisenberg F&M's Top Senior Athlete: Sarah Meisenberg earned the Michael T. Karvasales Award, given each year to F&M's top senior athlete. Meisenberg is a two-sport All-American. She earned Centennial Conference Player of the Year honors and two All-America honors in basketball in 2007-2008.  She was named a Jewish Student Review All-American in each of the past two basketball seasons. She has been named All-American eight times in lacrosse with seven first team honors. She is a two-time All-NCAA Tournament selection with a laundry list of awards and honors achieved along the way. 

Diplomats Postseason Experience: 14 members of the Diplomats roster remain from the 2007 National Championship team. 10 of the 14 players appeared in the game with nine of them starting. All but one member of the 2008 National Runners-up returned to the roster for the 2009 season. The one graduation loss is now an assistant coach, Carli McLaughlin.

500 Points: The 2009 Diplomats crossed the 500-point threshold during Sunday's win over Tufts, making it the first edition of the F&M women's lacrosse team to reach 500 points in a year. F&M had tied the 2007 National Championship team's record for points in a season at 487 with the last point against Union on Saturday. F&M has reset the school record for goals (334) and assists (196) in a season.

400 Saves: During the win over Tufts, Lidia Sanza became the fifth Diplomat to save 400 shots in her career. She is seven saves away from taking over fourth place on the career saves list, currently occupied by Madhavi Rao '02.

300 Points: Shannon Summers joined Pritchard and Petrella as the only members of the 300-point club at Franklin & Marshall. Junior Blake Hargest is the next Diplomat with a shot at the mark. She moved to 247 career points last night, leaving her alone for seventh in career points at F&M.

150 Assists: Shannon Summers is two assists away from becoming the first Diplomat to 150 assists in her career. She heads to Salem with 29 assists in NCAA postseason play, four short of the career record of 33, owned by Middlebury's Kristen Hanley '03. Summers already owns the record for goals in a tournament with 14 in 2007. Blake Hargest is second on the assists in a tournament list having helped out 13 times in 2007. She has 24 NCAA assists heading to Salem leaving her third all-time in postseason play.

100 Assists: During the Tufts game, Sarah Meisenberg became the fifth Diplomats to join the 100-assist club. Three of the other four members are currently associated with the team. Head Coach, Lauren Paul, was the first Diplomat to reach 100 assists in a career, finishing up in 2003 with 103 helpers. Summers is sitting on 148, while Blake Hargest is sitting on 121.

Time to Get Lussier: Diplomats' sophomore, Meredith Lussier, joined Ashley Bevington (114), Blake Hargest (122), Sarah Meisenberg (133), Shannon Summers (152), and Jen Pritchard (262) in the 100-goal club last night. Lauren Paul '03 is also a member of the club with 139 career goals.

100 Points of Light: Shannon Summers recorded the second 100-point season on record at F&M. Lauren Petrella owns the only 100-point season at the moment. She rolled up 106 points (76g, 30a) in her senior season, 1994. Summers has rolled up her points feeding the Diplomats' potent offense. Her 63 helpers this season eclipsed her own single season record of 49 assists a year ago. She needs six points today to match Petrella's output.

In Control: The school record for draw controls belongs to Jen Pritchard, who has collected the ball off of the draw circle 233 times. Sarah Meisenberg is two draws away from becoming the second Diplomat to amass 200 draws in her career. Ashley Bevington needs one to become the fifth Diplomat to the 100 draw control plateau.

2009 Lax Honors
Ashley Bevington - All-Centennial Honorable Mention
Paulette Cutruzulla - All-Centennial Honorable Mention, CC Defensive POW (3/9)
Blake Hargest - All- Centennial Second Team
Devi Hensch - All-Centennial Second Team
Sarah Meisenberg - All-Centennial First Team, CC Defensive POW (3/16)
Jen Pritchard - Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Player of the Year, All-Centennial First Team, Nike/Inside Lacrosse POW (3/10), CC POW (4/20), WomensLacrosse.com WHR (5/5)
Lidia Sanza - All-Centennial First Team, WomensLacrosse.com WHR (4/1), CC Defensive POW (4/6, 4/20), WomensLacrosse.com POW (4/21)
Shannon Summers - All-Centennial First Team, CC POW (4/6), Women's Lacrosse.com WHR (4/29)

Good Sport: Chelsea Meerbach received the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Sportsmanship Award. The SAAC Sportsmanship award is given to an athlete who demonstrates the most sportsmanlike behavior as selected by his or her peers.

Graduation Turns the Tables:  Franklin & Marshall's lacrosse players are used to being watched on B2 Networks, the Diplomats broadband streaming partner. Yesterday, the lacrosse team was watching the folks back in Lancaster. Thanks to the athletics department's partnership with B2, F&M's ten seniors gathered around the computer to watch their graduation ceremony back in Pennsylvania Dutch Country featuring a speech by Colin Powell. President John Fry will hold a ceremony for the Diplomats graduates following today's game.

Thinking About the Future: Now that the senior class has technically crossed the stage and turned their tassles on their four-pointed hats, they'll have to start thinking about life after lacrosse. Some may wish to consider business. That route worked well for former lax captain Mary Schapiro '77, the Chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Schapiro was the first varsity captain after the team made the leap from club status back in 1977. She remains a Diplomat , serving on the Franklin & Marshall Board of Trustees.

What the Heck is YEER: For those who don't know, YEER is to F&M women's lacrosse what Mojo was to the Permian Panthers in H.G. Bissinger's bestseller, Friday Night Lights. When head coach, Lauren Paul '03 was still wearing a uniform, she used to imitate teammate and fellow Baltimorean, Laura Fine, screaming "Yeah, Dips!" at the start of each practice and game. Paul's morphing of Yeah into YEER became the Diplomats battlecry and outlasted Paul's time as a student at F&M.  In 2007, the word started creeping up on signs and tee-shirts. Paul was one of several Diplomats, including Fine, who made the trip to Geneva, N.Y. to see the '07 team win the title. Paul got to hold the trophy as an alumnae. She will seek her first chance as a coach this weekend. YEER, which started as a joke, has grown into the headstrong attitude that permeates every aspect of the program. It also matches Paul's feisty attitude.