Third-Ranked Bullets Shoot by Denison to Advance in NCAAs

GETTYSBURG, Pa. Gettysburg and Middlebury cruised to easy victories in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament to set up an epic showdown in Sunday's regional finale at Clark Field.

Gettysburg (19-1) ended Denison University's (15-5) season 17-7 in Saturday's opening game as senior Hannah Church (Ellicott City, Md./Mount de Sales) and sophomore Katie Blumenthal (Malvern, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame) each posted four goals. Middlebury (14-4) jumped out to a 10-0 lead against Montclair State University (14-6) and finished with a 12-5 victory.

The Bullets came out firing against the Big Red with three goals in the first 1:31. Blumenthal tossed in the first two and freshman Bridget Kenny (Gladstone, N.J./Bernards) posted the third following a feed from junior Lindsey Robinson (Potomac, Md./Holton-Arms).

Denison jumped on the board with back-to-back tallies by Olivia Shiland and Alex Thurner to pull to 3-2 at 24:34. The surge didn't hold for the Big Red, however, as Gettysburg ran off a six-goal run, kicked off with back-to-back goals by Robinson and Blumenthal just 13 seconds apart. Sophomore Bailey Beardsley (Union Bridge, Md./Francis Scott Key) went for back-to-back scores before Blumenthal tallied her fourth goal of the first half to push the lead to 9-2 with 7:33 on the clock.

Denison held on, netting four of the next five goals with Molly Chapman cutting the lead to 10-6 with 19:20 to play in the game. That would be the closest the Big Red would get as Kenny, Church, and sophomore Loren Pruitt (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) each scored a pair of goals over the final 19:07. Freshman Mandy Buell (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) polished off the 10-goal victory with her only tally at 2:26.

Gettysburg led in shots (35-16) and ground balls (21-14), while Denison held a slight edge in draw controls at 13-12.

Church's four-goal day pushed her past Katie Ceglarski '08 for fourth on Gettysburg's all-time points list with 268. Blumenthal was one off her personal best for goals set against Cabrini College in the opening round of this year's tournament. Robinson finished with one goal and four assists, while Kenny recorded three goals and one helper.

Junior Hayward Sawers (Timonium, Md./St. Paul's School for Girls) and senior Lexi Kelly (Ridley Park, Pa./Agnes Irwin) led the defensive effort with two caused turnovers. Sawers also posted one assist, four ground balls, and three draw controls, while Kelly notched three ground balls. Senior Maddie Coleman (Lexington, Va./Rockbridge County) posted five saves in Gettysburg's goal.

Chapman and Thurner each tallied two goals for Denison. Carly Tshantz turned in one assist and four draw controls and Hannah Minifie stopped four shots in the cage.

Middlebury overpowered Montclair State, holding the Red Hawks to just one shot and forcing 17 turnovers in the opening period alone. The Panther offense was patient to start with Katie Ritter's tally standing as the only score for the first 12 minutes.

The offensive pace picked up as the team turned in six goals over the next 10 minutes. Margaret Souther tallied three in a row, including a man-up goal and a free-position goal to set the score at 7-0 with eight minutes remaining in the first period. Catherine Fowler and Emma Kramer lifted Middlebury to a 9-0 lead at the half with goals in the final 1:37.

Hannah Deoul gave the Panthers a 10-0 edge with the first goal of the final stanza, allowing the team to rest a number of starters for Sunday's finale. Montclair State scored four of the final five goals of the contest.

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