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College Lacrosse

Women's lacrosse notebook: Mount St. Mary's going for tourney berth

Mount St. Mary's will battle this weekend for a chance to return to the Northeast Conference women's lacrosse tournament after missing the four-team field last season.

With two games left, the Mountaineers are 3-2 in the NEC and in a third-place tie with Wagner while Bryant is in first place at 5-0 and Robert Morris is second at 4-1.

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On Friday, the Mountaineers travel to face Bryant. On Sunday, they finish the season at Central Connecticut, which is in a fifth-place tie with Sacred Heart at 2-3.

"We pretty much can determine our own fate this weekend," Mount St. Mary's coach Lauren Schwarzmann said. "Winning both would lock us in and winning one would give us, I think, a pretty good chance to get in, so we've set ourselves up pretty nicely here moving into the last weekend of conference play."

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The Mountaineers haven't won the tournament since 2005, but this spring they've done well in conference games — even the two they've lost.

They've beaten Sacred Heart as well as Saint Francis (Pa.) and LIU Brooklyn, and each of their losses has come by a single goal. They fell to defending tournament champion Wagner, 9-8 in overtime, two weeks ago, and dropped their conference opener to Robert Morris, 7-6, on April 7.

Schwarzmann cites more confidence all around and better team defense for the strong showing in the conference, which has included a lot of close games among the top contenders.

"Our offense is playing a lot more confidently," Schwarzmann said. "We've gone up and down on offense consistency-wise. When we saw teams with higher pressure early on, it shocked us a little bit and I think now we're starting to figure out where openings are, where we can go with the ball and scanning the field, seeing the middle, seeing where the pressure is coming from. I think we're becoming smarter offensive players."

Defensively, sophomore goalie Jillian Petito has made 42 saves over the past three games — against Wagner, LIU Brooklyn and and Sacred Heart. The Stephen Decatur graduate had a save percentage of .625 against Wagner while her season average is up to .465.

Sammie Knapp (Loch Raven), Kelly Maloney (River Hill), Carly Miller (Marriotts Ridge), Taylor Carhart (Manchester Valley) and Kate Kinsella lead the Mountaineers on offense. Jannel Daufenbach has played a key role in transition and with her ability to jump start the offense off the draw. She leads the team with 56 draw controls.

Tournament time: While the league tournaments that involve Maryland Division I teams won't begin for a week, two others kick off this weekend — the Atlantic Coast Conference and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Both include teams likely to contend for the national championship, including defending ACC and national champion North Carolina.

North Carolina is the top seed in the ACC, which held its quarterfinals Thursday with semifinals Friday and the championship game Sunday in Richmond. Syracuse is the No. 2 seed.

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In the MPSF, defending champion USC is the top seed and hosts the tournament in Los Angeles. Quarterfinals were also scheduled for Thursday with semifinals Friday and the title game Sunday. Upstart Colorado is the No. 2 seed.

Next weekend, Maryland will host the Big Ten tournament, Loyola Maryland will host the Patriot League tournament and Towson will host the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. All are four-team tournaments scheduled to begin May 5 and conclude May 7.

The NCAA tournament field will be announced May 7 at 9 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Quick hits: Maryland outshot Penn State, 26-9, in the second half of its 16-14 win last Friday. ... The Terps' 12.5 turnovers per game are the least in Division I. ... Navy's Jenna Collins (River Hill) has 20 hat tricks for her career after scoring three times in a 7-4 win over Bucknell on Saturday. ... Loyola's 20-8 win over Lafayette was its biggest offensive output in two years. ... Towson caused 20 of Drexel's 25 turnovers in the Tigers' 14-7 win Sunday. ... Colorado's 15-2 regular-season finish is the best in school history, improving on last year's 13-5 record. ... Three local players were named to the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation first team: Oregon's Bella Pyne (South River) and Shannon Williams (Bel Air) and Cal's Meredith Haggerty (John Carroll). ... Virginia's Maggie Preas (McDonogh) was named second-team All-ACC.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kdunnsun


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