Morrisville State women to face Westfield State in opening round of NCAA Division III Tourney  

Morrisville State women to face Westfield State in opening round of NCAA Division III Tourney  


MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released its Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship bracket, setting the field for the 42-team tournament scheduled to open play Saturday.

Morrisville State (12-7), the automatic qualifier for the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), will face Westfield State University in the first round Saturday, May 12th on the campus of Gettysburg College, at 1 p.m. in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Those unable to attend the contest will be able to follow the action live through live stats and video. Links are posted on

Morrisville State will be making their second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, and third overall, after topping Medaille College 21-10 in the NEAC Finals Sunday for their second consecutive tournament title.

The seniors are one of the most decorated groups for the Mustangs to take the field, and is the first women's team to make three appearances, combining for a 32-4 NEAC record, and a 6-1 NEAC Tournament record.

Morrisville State enters the tournament averaging 21.11 points per game, 14.72 goals per game, with an all-around potent attacking unit.

Senior Gianna Branca (Camillus, N.Y.) leads the Mustangs with 127 total points on the year, netting 69 goals and assisting 58 others. Junior Courtney Cavellier (Rodman, N.Y.), across 19 games on the season, has added 58 scores to go along with 12 assists for 70 points, while fellow attack Celia Abbott (Shortsville, N.Y.) and Jillian Hughes (Brookfield, N.Y.) have added 45 points each behind their combined 56 goals and 34 assists.

Westfield State will have their hands full with the Morrisville State attacking unit, who aside from their offensive onslaught, have posted a tough ride in the transition, allowing opponents a 61.5% success rate on clear attempts, while boasting a 77.1% of their own.

The combination of Cavellier and Branca, along with Makenzi Santini (Fairport, N.Y.) and Melissa Lucciola (Monroe, N.Y.), has caused havoc for opponents as they have forced a combined 103 caused turnovers in the transition game.

Cavellier has proved equally as tough in the center circle, winning 106 draw controls of her own, while snagging a team high 75 ground balls.

Defensively, the Mustangs will have the back wall of Lexi Firkins (Brockport, N.Y.), Lydia Cooley (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.), Kennedy Cox (Blythe, Calif.) and Janet Hanehan (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) to front senior goalkeeper Marissa Woodard (Unadilla, N.Y.), a unit that has limited opponents to a 9.95 goals against average on the year, including a 5.67 GAA within conference play.

Firkins leads the Mustangs with 45 caused turnovers, adding 59 ground balls from her defensive position, with Cooley adding 22 ground ball pick-ups to go along with 25 caused turnovers.

Cox has been known to shut down opponents and limit goal scoring opportunities, while Hanehan has proved as effective of a force with her ability to intercept and knock down passes in the 12-meter.

Woodard will be making a 16th appearance between the posts for the Mustangs, having collected 73 stops across 15 games in net, while collecting an 8.15 goals against average.

Westfield State (17-2) will be making their second appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament after capturing the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) title Saturday with a 17-10 victory over Framingham State.

The Owls enter the contest averaging 15.21 goals per game, while limiting opponents to 7.68.

Sydney Lambert leads the charge with 56 points, netting 51 goals and assisting six others, while teammates Samantha Coyle and Alexa Tonelli have notched 43 and 41 points, respectively.

Maria Woodall will be the final backstop for the Owls, making a 20th appearance in net, after allowing 141 goals on the season for an 8.26 goals against average. Woodall has collected 183 stops for a 56.5 save percentage in 1024 minutes of action.

Both teams are riding a six game win streak into the opening round. The winner will face reigning national champion Gettysburg Sunday at 1 p.m. in Gettysburg.

Additional information will be announced once released, including ticket information for those wishing to attend the contest.

Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.

The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit