INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The No. 3 ranked Pace University women's lacrosse team completed its historic season with a National Championship, defeating No. 1 ranked West Chester University 19-9 on Sunday, May 21 to win the first title in program history. The 19 goals were the most-ever scored in a DII Women's Lacrosse championship game, and the Setters are the first NCAA collegiate team in Westchester County to win a National Championship.
The Setters finished the season with a 21-2 record, winning a staggering 17 games against ranked opponents during the 2023 season, including a Golden Rams team that came into the National Championship game a perfect 22-0 on the year.
"What you saw today, we had been doing all season," remarked Setter head coach Tricia Molfetta. "They've worked so hard for this, and even though we were beating teams by 10 goals all spring, I think there were still people that doubted us. It was fuel for us, and all we kept saying all year long, and this is something they came up with, is 'why not us'?"
She went on to talk about how much it meant to her and the team.
"It's a tremendous feeling." Molfetta said. "We played West Chester in 2019 and we lost by 20 goals. To come here and play the way we did, on the road, against an undefeated team, it's remarkable."
Pace struck in the opening minute on a goal by grad student midfielder Kayla Conway (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh), and two minutes later got another from junior midfielder Angelina Porcello (Eastchester, N.Y./Eastchester) as the Setters put up 10 goals in the first 15 minutes. Just short of the midway point of the period, the Setters scored three goals in a span of 1:19 as senior attacks Sydney Juvelier(Centereach, N.Y./Centereach) and Jolie Urraro (Sayville, N.Y./Connetquot) found the back of the net, followed by another from Conway. Pace didn't take their foot off the gas, as they later scored three in 30 seconds to extend their lead to eight. Porcello scored her second and third of the quarter, while Juvelier put in one more as well. After Conway's third of the quarter with 5:04 remaining, grad student midfielder Emma Rafferty (Bay Shore, N.Y./Islip) scored her first of the day with 11 seconds remaining to give Pace a double-digit lead.
Porcello picked up her fourth of the day early in the second quarter, and sophomore attack Nikki Mottes (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) got in on the scoring with a goal following a West Chester penalty. Another yellow card by the Golden Rams was capitalized on by Juvelier with 9:01 left in the quarter to give the Setters a 13-0 lead. West Chester finally got on the board with 7:53 remaining, getting back-to-back goals by Keri Barnett and Lindsay Monigle. However, Pace got them right back with two goals in the final 2:01 of the quarter by Porcello and grad student midfielder Aleya Corretjer (Thiells, N.Y./North Rockland) to take a 15-2 lead into halftime.
The Golden Rams got the first goal of the third quarter as Julia Littlewood scored for West Chester, and they scored twice more during the period while holding Pace off the board. Monigle's second of the day with 12 seconds remaining made it a 15-5 game heading to the final period.
West Chester put in the first two of the fourth quarter, cutting their deficit down to eight goals with 12:19 remaining in the game. But Rafferty answered back for the Setters, picking up her second of the day with 11:16 left to extend the lead back to nine. The Golden Rams took advantage of a Pace penalty, getting a goal by Hannah Stanislawczyk to make it a 16-8 game, but Urraro found the back of the net with 7:03 to go. After another West Chester goal, Correjter scored her second of the day to give Pace a nine-goal lead. Urraro then put in the final goal of the game on a free-position attempt with 1:55 to go as the Setters took a 19-9 victory to claim the National Championship.
Pace outshout West Chester 39-18 on the day, while the Golden Rams won the ground ball battle 16-12. The Setters were dominant on draw controls, winning 23 of 30 draws. Porcello's five goals were one shy of the all-time record of six in a DII Women's Lacrosse championship game.
Speaking on the win, Corretjer said, "All season long, from the preseason in the fall, this is what we worked for." Corretjer said. "We worked every day for it, and just to get to this end goal, it feels amazing. All the work paid off."
Juvelier, Corretjer, Porcello and junior defender Alexandra Quinn (Eastport, N.Y./Eastport South Manor) were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Conway earned Tournament MVP honors.