LANCASTER, Pa. - The third-ranked Franklin & Marshall women's lacrosse team punched their ticket to the national semifinals with a 16-9 win over No. 11 Amherst in the regional finals of the 2008 NCAA Division III Championships on Sunday.
The Diplomats (18-1) will be making their fourth overall and second consecutive trip to the national semifinals where they will face The College of New Jersey on Saturday, May 17 at 2:30 p .m. in Salem, Virginia. The first semifinal of the championship weekend will feature Salisbury and Hamilton at 11:30 a.m.
Jen Pritchard scored a game-high five goals to put her four away from 200 career goals, while Shannon Summers had a repeat performance from the regional semifinals with seven points thanks to a hat trick and four assists, bringing her total to 10 helpers on the weekend. Blake Hargest added three goals and three assists in the win.
The Lord Jeffs (15-4) got three goals from Maddie Hoeg and two from Amy Craig on the day. Senior netminder Linda McEvoy tallied five saves in her final collegiate game.
It was Hoeg that gave Amherst a promising start with the first goal of the contest and helped make it a tightly contested first half. Hoeg only needed 1:29 after the opening whistle to get her first of three goals, but F&M scored three straight to get its first lead.
Summers connected with Pritchard and Hargest on the first two, before finishing the third one herself on a pass from Meredith Lussier for a 3-1 advantage at the 23:35 mark.
On back-to-back fouls inside the arc, Craig and Hoeg were able to convert their free-position shots to even the score at 3-all. Once again, Summers found Hargest alone on the Lord Jeffs' crease for the bounce shot past McEvoy to grab a one-goal lead.
Tyler Tory-Murphy knotted the game for the last time with an unassisted tally with 14:53 remaining in the opening stanza. Sarah Meisenberg finished her first of two 8-meter shots and Summers struck again off a Hargest feed for a 6-4 lead.
The final three goals of the half were scored off free-position opportunities. Kathleen Scheld recorded Amherst's marker, while Meisenberg and Pritchard were successful on their free-position attempts for the Diplomats largest lead at 8-5. Hoeg completed her hat trick with a last-second goal for an 8-6 halftime score.
F&M made its move in the second half, scoring the first five goals and starting with Devi Hensch's solo run off a caused turnover at center of the field that ended with her lone goal of the day.
After getting help from Summers in yesterday's win over Babson, Hargest returned the favor on the second goal of the 5-0 run and then found Pritchard, who received and shot the ball all in one motion to make it 11-6 in favor of the Diplomats.
It took F&M just 39 seconds to score its next three goals, including just 11 seconds in between the first two. Lussier assisted Pritchard at the 21:54 mark and Pritchard won the ensuing draw control, before dishing the ball off to Lussier extend the lead to 13-6 and putting the Lord Jeffs out of reach.
The Diplomats have maintained to keep accuracy apart of their offense all season, scoring 16 goals on just 24 shots. Meisenberg finished with two goals on three shots, while adding a game-high six draw controls, four ground balls and two caused turnovers.