Women's Lacrosse Falls in National Championship Game

Women's Lacrosse Falls in National Championship Game

TAMPA, FL - A long scoring drought in the first half erased an early 4-1 lead as Florida Southern College women's lacrosse fell to No. 2 Le Moyne, 16-11, in the NCAA Division II National Championship game on Sunday at UT Lacrosse Stadium at the University of Tampa. The No. 3 Moccasins (21-2) fell behind in the first two minutes but reeled off four-straight goals to steal the momentum before the Dolphins (22-1) clamped down defensively and put together an 8-0 run to jump on top for good and take a 10-6 halftime lead.

Florida Southern would get no closer than four in the second half as Le Moyne kept up the pressure en route to its first-ever national title in women's lacrosse. The Moccasins, making their third-straight title game appearance, finished as the runner-up for the second year in a row.

Le Moyne got on the board first when Bryanna Fazio scored with 28:20 to go in the first half, but the Mocs answered right back when Shannon Gilfedder found the back of the net less than a minute later to tie things up. Gilfedder's goal would propel Florida Southern to a 4-0 scoring run as Meghan O'Brien scored twice and Dani Bursinger tallied a goal over the next seven minutes to make it 4-1 with 20:13 to go. 
Nicole Delaney answered with a goal for Le Moyne to cut the deficit back to two (4-2) with 18:35 on the clock, but Emily Santoli answered with a Moccasin goal just over a minute later to push the lead back to three (5-2). However, the Dolphins kicked into another gear and reeled off eight-straight goals in a span of 11:14 to seize all the momentum. After nearly 17 minutes without a goal, O'Brien buried home another with 34 ticks left in the first half to make it 10-6 at the break.
Just as it did in the first half, Le Moyne also opened up the scoring in the second to get back in front by five (11-6). After Casey O'Brien scored to get the Mocs back within four at the 16:46 mark of the second half, the Dolphins answered with a pair of goals to make it 13-7. Florida Southern answered with two goals of its own to pull within four (13-9), but another set of back-to-back goals by Le Moyne all but put the game out of reach as the Dolphins outscored the Mocs 6-5 over the final 30 minutes of action.
M. O'Brien led Florida Southern with four goals, while Bursinger and Santoli each scored twice. Sam Keesey had seven game-high draw controls, and Meghan Vadala led all players with five ground balls. Bryanna Fazio scored six times for Le Moyne, while Sidney Hall added four. Shots were nearly even as the Dolphins took 35 to Florida Southern's 32, and both teams made 12 total saves. The Mocs won 17-of-29 draw controls, but converted just 2-of-7 free-position shots and committed 15 turnovers.

Florida Southern fell to 7-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 1-2 mark in the National Championship contest. The Mocs are just the third team in Division II women's lacrosse history to advance to three-straight title games.
The seven-member senior class for the Moccasins finishes their career with a record of 80-12 (.870), seven Sunshine State Conference titles (four regular-season/three tournament), a pair of national-runner up finishes (2017 & 2018), and one national championship (2016).
This year's win total of 21 wins ties the school record for the most wins in a single season. That total is also tied for the second-most wins in a season in NCAA Division II history. The Mocs also won 21 games a year ago. Le Moyne's 22 wins are tied with the Adelphi team of 2014 for the most in a season in NCAA Division II history. The Dolphins are just the sixth different team to win a Division II Women's Lacrosse National title since the sport began at the Division II level in 2001.