What a day of notable upsets in NAIA women’s lacrosse in Savannah, Georgia. The quarterfinal round of the inaugural NAIA Women’s Tournament did not disappoint.
Before taking a look at what happened, check out our preview from before the start of the tournament.
Now, let’s break down the results.
NAIA Women’s Tournament Quarterfinals Recap
(1) Keiser 12 – (8) Siena Heights 7
The first game of the day was No. 1 Keiser versus No. 8 Siena Heights. Despite the controversy of Siena Heights making the tournament, it certainly proved everyone wrong. It jumped out against the No. 1 team with two unanswered goals, eventually leading going into the second half, 4-3.
This majorly defensive, low-scoring game was definitely a wake up call for No. 1 Keiser. The two netminders, Jessica Covell (KU) and Elizabeth Elliot (SHU) kept their respective teams in the game, both making 10 big saves. Despite Siena Heights’ efforts, Keiser’s freshman Madison Andrews was unstoppable, scoring five goals to tie her career-high, and Keiser was able to defeat Siena Heights to avoid what arguably would have been the biggest upset in NAIA women’s lacrosse tournament history.
(5) Lawrence Tech 20 – (4) Benedictine 11
The second match up of the day ended in an upset with the No. 5 seeded Lawrence Tech Blue Devils defeating the 2019 National Invitational runner-up, the Ravens of Benedictine College. Lawrence Tech’s offense was on fire from the get go, scoring six unanswered tallies. Smentowski led the Blue Devils with six goals on 10 shots, and the NAIA National Player of the Year, Natalie Wetcher, dominated on the draw control (11). But the Blue Devils limited her to just one goal.
A big difference here that stood out was that Lawrence Tech played a tougher regular season schedule than the Ravens and came prepared for top talent, despite the Ravens regular season record of 13-1, but unfortunately for Benedictine, it went 0-1 in the postseason.
(6) Life 15 – (3) Reinhardt 14
The third game of the day was one that viewers couldn’t take their eyes off. In the battle of the Georgia birds, No. 6 Life University got the upset over No. 3 Reinhardt.
In what was a back-and-forth game of runs, Life was the first to jump out on a 3-0 lead. Then Reinhardt scored four unanswered goals of its own to take its first lead of the game. Reinhardt’s Morgan McGhee was a crucial part of the Eagles offense, ending the day with five goals. The game’s balance traded between the sides for the remainder of the half until it was even at the break. The runs continued in the second half, leading to it being knotted at 14-14 until Life’s Lacy Legaspi scored her fifth goal of the day to earn the Running Eagles a spot in the NAIA Women’s Tournament Semifinals.
(2) Cumberlands 18 – (7) SCAD 7
Last but not least, No. 2 Cumberlands defeated No. 7 SCAD. This SCAD women’s lacrosse team holds three consecutive NAIA National Invitational titles (2017-2019), but the University of the Cumberlands quickly took matters into its own hands and jumped to a 10-0 lead, forcing a running clock in the first half.
SCAD didn’t give up as it clawed its way back thanks to efforts from Tatum Crouch (two goals) and Clarke Haas (two goals), but the Patriots offense was just too much to handle. SCAD’s defense couldn’t stop Bella Richiazzi, allowing her to have a 10-point game on eight goals and two assists. On the Patriots’ defensive end, Trinity Brown was causing havoc for the Bees in the midfield with four ground balls and three caused turnovers. The Cumberlands took advantage of the weak SCAD defense and didn’t look back, moving onto the semis with a 18-7 win.
In this part of the postseason, it’s anyone’s game, and we’ve seen that clearly in this first round. Keiser is slated to face the Blue Devils of Lawrence Tech for the first game of the semifinal round. Keiser’s offense needs to pick up its game if it expects to stay dancing as it can’t afford to be a second half team against these next-level opponents. Lawrence Tech has always been a steady and strong team, and it’s coming off a big upset with a lot of energy. I expect this game to be one that’s played to the final whistle.
For the second game of the semis, it will be a battle between Mid-South Conference foes Cumberlands and Life. Cumberlands is an offensive powerhouse and its goalie, Olivia McCarrell, is one to beat for this Life offense. She’s been a brick wall in net this entire season. But Life is a team that seems to shock everyone. It shows up and gets the job done regardless of seeding or ranking. Its offense is well rounded, led by Tina Ricci, Maria Arvizu, and Brianna Freeman. I predict this game will be close, too.
You can find the tournament bracket here.
Who’s going to the ‘ship?
No. 1 Keiser vs. No. 5 Lawrence Tech @ 10 a.m. ET.
No. 2. Cumberlands vs. No. 6 Life University @ 1 p.m. ET.