No fewer than 22 games will take place this weekend en route to determining the 2011 NCAA Champions in women’s lacrosse, with eight first-round games scheduled in the Division I tournament, two quarterfinal games in Division II, and eight second-round games and four quarterfinals scheduled in Division III. It’s a lot to keep track of, so NCAA.com has a handy guide to the weekend’s top matchups, with the top games you’ll want to keep an eye on in each division.
DIVISION I FIRST ROUND – Penn at No. 5 Duke
WHERE: Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET
ALL-TIME SERIES: Penn leads, 3-2
THE STORY: The Quakers finished the regular season with a 13-10 win over the Blue Devils in Philadelphia (at Drexel’s Vidas Field), becoming one of just four teams to beat Duke this season. The other three – Maryland, Northwestern and North Carolina – were seeded in the top eight and awarded home games in the tournament, but the Quakers lost in overtime to Princeton in the semifinals of the Ivy League tournament, and were matched up with the Blue Devils.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Blue Devils boast three of the 24 nominees for the 2011 Tewaaraton Award, honoring the top player in the sport: senior attacker Christie Kaestner (30g, 37a) and junior midfielders Emma Hamm (41g, 21a) and Kat Thomas (38g, 1a). Hamm led the Blue Devils with four goals and an assist in the first meeting, while Kaester had a game-high three assists and Thomas – who normally averages more than two goals per game – was held off the scoresheet. Senior midfielder Sarah Bullard also scored a hat trick against the Quakers. Penn, meanwhile, has a Tewaaraton nominee of hits own in junior attacker Erin Brennan (32g, 16a). Brennan was held without a goal in the first game against Duke, but led the Quakers with three assists, while senior attacker Bridget Waclawik, sophomore attacker Caroline Bunting and sophomore Midfielder Meredith Cain had a hat trick apiece to provide the bulk of Penn’s offense.
DIVISION II QUARTERFINAL – WEST CHESTER AT LOCK HAVEN
WHERE: Charlotte E. Smith Field in Lock Haven, Pa.
WHEN: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
ALL-TIME SERIES: West Chester leads, 46-6
THE STORY: Saturday’s NCAA quarterfinal game will be the third meeting between the PSAC rival Golden Rams and Lady Eagles this season. West Chester won the first meeting in Lock Haven, 13-12, en route to a perfect PSAC regular season and the right to host the conference championship. However, home field did the Golden Rams as little good as it did the Lady Eagles, as Lock Haven avenged the loss in the conference championship game with a 10-9 win. The rubber match will determine who goes on to face No. 2 Limestone in next Friday’s NCAA Division II Semifinals in Garden City, N.Y.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Golden Rams were one of just two teams to score double-digit goals against Lock Haven in the regular season, with senior attacker Devon Lotkowski and sophomore attacker Tori Dugan scoring three goals apiece to lead West Chester, while Shannon Hayes, one of the national leaders in assists per game, handed out five helpers to help defeat Lock Haven. Lotkowski and Dugan combined for five goals in the return engagement on April 30, but Hayes was held to a pair of assists. For Lock Haven, freshman midfielder Jessica Pandolf scored a total of seven goals in the two games, one of the Lady Eagles’ most reliable scorers senior attackers Alison Berger (34g, 50a) and Jamie Uzialko (42g, 3a). Defensively, Lock Haven is led by Katie Zichelli, last season’s national Defensive Player of the Year. Zichelli is second in the country with 62 caused turnovers, and grabbed eight of them in the two earlier games against West Chester.
DIVISION III SECOND ROUND: MIDDLEBURY AT TRINITY
WHERE: Robert L. Sheppard Field in Hartford, Conn.
WHEN: Saturday, 11:30 a.m. ET
THE STORY: Trinity is one of two undefeated teams in the Division III tournament, with a record of 17-0, and was given a bye in first-round play. However, one of the Bantams’ closest calls of the season came against the Panthers, as Trinity was forced to hang on to a one-goal lead for the final 8:36 of play. That game took place at Middlebury, but the Panthers can be expected to deliver a similar challenge to Trinity on the Bantams’ home field in Hartford. The winner of the game will face the winner of the second game at Sheppard Field, which will pit Stevens Institute of Technology against Bowdoin.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Trinity senior Rachel Romanowsky was second in the NESCAC in points during the regular season with 71, and torched the Panthers for seven in the teams’ first meeting, scoring one goal and assisting on six others, including the game-winning scores by the team’s top goal-scorer, Megan Leonhard (45g), in the latter stages of the second half. With 31 goals on the season, she’s also more than capable as a goal-scorer. The Panthers, meanwhile, boast the conference’s leading goal-scorer in Sally Ryan, who tallied 54 goals in 15 games this season.