LAKELAND, Fla. (May 13, 2016) – The fifth-seeded and seventh-ranked Rollins women’s lacrosse team earned a hard-fought victory in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse Tournament. The Tars defeated fourth-seeded and No. 8 West Chester University by a final score of 9-8 on Friday evening at Bryant Stadium.
With the score tied at 8-8 and under a minute to play, Rollins ran a play which placed the ball in the stick of sophomore Megan Cury who grabbed the coveted game-winner with 31 seconds left in the game. The win moves Rollins to a record of 15-3, and advances them to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinal round, marking the second time in program history the Tars have advanced past their first game in the tournament.
Rollins first made their NCAA Tournament debut in 2012, where they earned a bye straight into the Semifinal round held in Louisville, Kentucky. The Tars squared up against West Chester, falling to the Golden Rams by a score of 19-10.
The Tars then earned their second appearance in NCAA postseason action the following season, and advanced into the next round for the first time in program history by defeating Lock Haven by a score of 11-10 before falling in double overtime to Limestone in the Semifinals, 11-10. Rollins stepped out of tournament action in 2014 before making their triumphant return in 2015, where they squared up against Lock Haven who bounced them out of tourney action in the First Round.
The loss for West Chester drops their overall record to 17-3, and closes out their 2016 campaign. The defeat marks the first time the Golden Rams have not advanced to the next round of the tournament in program history. The two-time National Champion has advanced past their first game in all 10 of their Tournament appearances, and has made it to the NCAA Tournament Championship Finals nine times.
Kris Coppolino led the team in points on the day, notching a hat trick and one assist for four points overall while adding a team high three ground balls and team best three draw controls. Tyler Thomas matched Coppolino in goals, with three, while Taylor Thomas, Paige Brock, and Megan Cury netted one each. Kallie German and Emily Eddowes completed the Tars’ scoring efforts with one assist apiece.
In goal, Malorie Olin earned seven saves, including six key stops in the second half to keep the Golden Rams off the board. Matching Coppolino in ground balls was Grayson McPhee with three, while Maddie Hendren and German matched Coppolino with three draw controls each. Defensively, Lindsay Van Beck and Angelica Perdomo led the team with two caused turnovers apiece.
West Chester was led by Sami Barnett, who notched two goals on the day. Dina Cifelli led the Golden Rams in overall points, posting a team best three assists and adding one goal. Ashley Pyle, Hannah Cowan, Erin Gallagher, Carleigh MacWilliams, and Olivia Martin each scored one goal, while Rachel Harman earned one assist.
Caroline Kuchinsky led West Chester on the draw with three, and scooped up two ground balls, which was matched by five of her teammates for a team high. Defensively, Emily McAleer and Kuchinsky caused a team best two turnovers apiece. In goal for the Golden Rams, Paige Mitros earned ten saves as she faced 26 shots and 19 shots on goal.
West Chester was on the board at the 26:51 mark with a goal by Gallagher, but Coppolino put the Tarson the board on a free position goal three minutes later to knot the board at 1-1.
Barnett answered back with a free position goal of her own at the 22:54 mark to pull the Golden Rams back out to a one goal lead, 2-1, but a clutch dodge and well placed shot from Taylor Thomas evened the tally at 2-2 at the 18:27 mark.
Barnett pulled West Chester back into the lead as the Golden Rams took advantage of a fast break clear, setting the score at 3-2 at the 14:52 mark, but Coppolino used a fast break of her own off of the draw to once again pull the Tars even, 3-3, 28 seconds later.
Martin gave WCU the 4-3 advantage at the 10:34 mark, but the Tars once more tied the game as Coppolino netted her third of the day with 6:43 to go before halftime. Coppolino’s goal closed out the first half, with both teams notched at 4-4 at the break.
West Chester got the second half scoring action started with a goal by Cifelli a little over two minutes in, and had two more opportunities to extend their lead over the ensuing minutes, but Olin came up big with two key saves to keep the Golden Rams off the board.
With West Chester in possession of the ball, staunch defense by Van Beck saw the freshman cause a key turnover. After picking up the ground ball, Van Beck took the ball down field before passing it off on attack where the Tars earned their fifth equalizer of the game thanks to a goal by Brock off of an assist by Coppolino with 20:05 to play.
The Tars took their first lead of the game with 14:46 to play, as Ty Thomas found the back of the net on a free position shot, putting the ball in the upper left corner to give Rollins the 6-5 advantage. West Chester answered back quickly, putting the ball between the pipes 15 seconds later to even the score for the sixth time, but Ty Thomas once again gave the Tars the lead. With two quick dodges around a swarm of defenders, the senior attacker fired off a well-placed shot between the pipes, setting the score at 7-6 with 13:05 to go.
The Golden Rams tied the game once more, netting a goal with 10:14 to go to knot the game at 7-7, and pulled back ahead once more with a goal by Cowan off of a Cifelli assist with 9:18 to play. Rollins called a timeout, and came out of the break where they took advantage of a West Chester misplay to gain possession. German took the ball down field on the clear and dished the ball to Ty Thomas, who dodged left, and then right before finding the back of the net with 7:51 on the clock to even the board at 8-8.
The following minutes saw plenty of back and forth action, but a key save by Olin with 4:40 to go gave the Tars possession and electrified the team. With the score still tied at 8-8, and Rollins with possession, the Tars used their time wisely and set up Cury for the game-winning goal.
Rollins led the shot count, 26-18, but West Chester held the edge in the ground ball battle, 16-15. The Tars were successful on 10-of-13 clear attempts, while holding West Chester to nine clears on 12 total attempts.
The fifth-seeded Tars return to action on Saturday, May 14, when they return to Bryant Stadium to take on top-seeded Florida Southern. The Quarterfinal game will mark the third time the Tars have matched up against the Moccasins this season. Game time against Florida Southern is set for 5 p.m. Links to live coverage will be available on RollinsSports.com.