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Steve Hemphill | | May 16, 2014

Scene set for semifinals

LIU Post is in search of its third consecutive national title. LIU Post is in search of its third consecutive national title.

If it’s postseason time for NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse, then LIU Post and Adelphi must be preparing for another showdown.

For the third year in a row, the two New York schools that are located only about nine miles apart will be facing off in the tournament, and for the second year in a row, there is a spot in the national championship game at stake.

And this time, Adelphi will slightly be playing the role of “favorite,” as it comes into the game with a 20-0 record and the No. 1 ranking. The two teams will face off at 2 p.m. ET Saturday in the second semifinal game at Kerr Stadium, on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

That was a spot that had been owned for much of the past three seasons by the Pioneers, which started the season at No. 1 before dropping to No. 2 the last week in April despite opening the season with 16 consecutive wins.

Jackie Sileo, who scored two goals in last year’s win against Adelphi, returns this season, and leads her team in both goals (54) and assists (87).

Adelphi had moved ahead of LIU Post (18-1) with help of a dominating month of April, where it scored at least 15 goals in seven of its eight games that month, while giving up no more than six goals in all of those matches except for one (the Panthers beat Saint Anselm 21-11 during that run).

The Pioneers’ hopes of regaining that top ranking went away the following week when the three-time defending national champions saw their 40-game winning streak, dating back to 2012, come to an end when they were beaten by Dowling 11-10 in the final of the East Coast Conference championship. Dowling was also the last team to beat LIU Post before it began that 40-game winning streak.

The Pioneers appeared to shake off that loss when it won its NCAA tourney opener 10-5 against New Haven. They’ll need all the momentum they have if they hope to get past Adelphi again. Last year’s national semifinal was won by LIU Post 7-6. In 2012, the Pioneers won a quarterfinal matchup with the Panthers 14-11.

For Adelphi, 19 of its 20 wins have been by at least six goals, and most of those wins were by double-digit margins. However, fellow semifinalist Lindenwood proved to be a worthy foe when the two met back on March 1. The Panthers squeaked out a 13-11 win that day.

This was the first year Lindenwood (15-3) was eligible for postseason play, and the Lions won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with a 5-0 record. Despite losing its final regular-season game 15-7 at Limestone, the Lions earned one of the eight tournament bids and traveled right back the following week to Gaffney, South Carolina, and beat Limestone the second time around by a score of 14-8 -- Lindenwood outscored the Saints 9-5 in the second half.

Lindenwood’s opponent, Lock Haven, is making its second appearance in Salem this year. The Eagles lost that game to Limestone 11-7, as well as its next game two days later to Indiana (Pa.), but since then, Lock Haven (18-2) has won 16 in a row.

The Eagles and Lions will get things started at 11 a.m. ET Saturday.

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