Bullets repeat in D-III lacrosse

Claire Macatee of Gettysburg rushes the ball up the field in Monday’s NCAA Divison III women’s lacrosse final at Roanoke College. PHOTO BY BRIAN HOFFMAN

It took a day of waiting out thunderstorms, but when the opening draw finally took place in the 2018 NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship, lightning managed to strike twice as third-ranked Gettysburg College took down No. 4 Middlebury College 11-9 to capture its second consecutive national title at Kerr Stadium on the campus of Roanoke College Monday.

Gettysburg (21-2) became just the fourth Division III program to repeat as national champion and it came exactly 365 days after its 2017 title. The institution is also just one of five D3 schools to claim at least three national titles joining The College of New Jersey (12), Middlebury (6), Salisbury University (3), and Ursinus College (3). The Bullets won their first NCAA title in 2011.

Junior Steph Colson was named Most Outstanding Performer of the NCAA Division III Championship for the second straight season. Colson posted one goal, three assists, three ground balls, a caused turnover, and nine draw controls in Monday’s title game. She tallied a total of 18 draw controls in the semifinals and championship and extended her program and conference season record to 140.

Sophomore Liza Barr led the offense with a career-high five goals. Senior Katie Willis posted a pair of goals, while freshman Kerry McKeever tallied a goal and an assist.

Junior Bailey Pilder recorded a dozen saves, two ground balls, and a caused turnover. Senior Cassie Smith recorded four ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Barr, Pilder, and Smith joined Colson on the All-Tournament Team. Smith landed a spot on the squad for the second year in a row.

Mere minutes after completing the championship run, Cantele cited the influence of former athletic trainer Kerry Garrett on the team this season. Garrett passed away last November following a lengthy fight with a rare former of cancer called cholangiocarcinoma. She had received her 2017 NCAA Championship ring not long before her passing.

“I felt like today they definitely lived like Kerry,” said Gettysburg coach Carol Cantele. “They were positive, they were fearless, and they were optimistic. That’s a great way to finish knowing they left it all out on the field.”