Women's Lacrosse Going To 3rd NCAA Final Four This Weekend

MEDFORD - For the third straight season, Tufts is one of the "Final Four" teams in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship.

Head coach Courtney Shute's Jumbos earned the national semifinal berth with a 14-9 win over Franklin & Marshall College at home on Bello Field Sunday evening. The Jumbos will head to Salem, Virginia for the Final Four and play College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Saturday at Kerr Stadium. Game time is 3 pm. Middlebury College and Gettysburg College will play in the other semifinal on Saturday at noon. The winners will meet for the 2022 NCAA Championship on Sunday at 3:30 pm.

The Jumbos have defeated each of the three other teams the last time they faced them. Tufts and TCNJ met in the NCAA "Elite 8" last year with the Jumbos edging the Lions 11-10. The Jumbos won the NESCAC title this spring with a 9-8 win at Middlebury College. On March 23 of this season, Tufts played at Gettysburg and won 16-9.

Tufts is chasing its first national championship. In their first Final Four appearance in 2019 they lost in the semifinals. Returning in 2021, they advanced to the NCAA Championship Game but lost. Both defeats were against Salisbury, 14-11 in 2019 and 14-13 in 2021.

This spring, TCNJ eliminated #1-ranked Salisbury in the Elite 8 by a 14-11 score. The Lions (18-2), coached by Sharon Pfluger, are the New Jersey Athletic Conference champions. Besides Salisbury, they have defeated St. Mary's (Md.) 20-12 and SUNY Cortland 13-6 in NCAA play. Twelve-time national champions (most recently in 2006), the Lions are playing in their 36th NCAA Tournament and have an 87-23 record in those games.

Head coach Kate Livesay's Middlebury (20-1) team has rebounded from the loss to Tufts in the conference final by steamrolling through the NCAA Tournament thus far. The Panthers have wins over SUNY Geneseo (22-6), University of Chicago (22-4) and then Colby 12-2 in the Elite 8 to qualify for Salem. Most recently the national champion in 2019, Middlebury has won seven times overall and has a 68-18 record in 25 previous NCAA berths.

For Gettysburg (19-3), head coach Carol Cantele's squad won the Centennial Conference title and has NCAA wins against Roanoke (9-8 in OT), Denison (17-9) and Washington and Lee (8-4). The Bullets are in NCAA's for the 20th time and have won three titles including back-to-back in 2017 and 2018. Their NCAA record is 40-16 overall.

The Jumbos (18-3) will be the only team in Salem without a national title this weekend. A relative newcomer to the top of Division III, Tufts is in its seventh NCAA apperance with a 15-6 overall mark. They opened the 2022 tournament with a 20-5 victory against St. Lawrence. They defeated Pomona-Pitzer 18-10 in the Sweet 16.

Three of the top 15 defensive teams in the nation will be on hand this weekend. Middlebury ranks second nationally allowing 5.95 goals per game, while TCNJ surrenders 7.00 per game for 10th and Tufts is 13th with a 7.29 goals allowed average. The Gettysburg number is 8.45 for 41st nationally. Offensively, TCNJ is the top ranked team out of the four scoring 17.35 goals per game for 11th in Division III. Middlebury scores 15.90 per game (31st), Gettysburg is at 15.09 (43rd) and Tufts is tallying 14.90 per contest (51st).

Information about live coverage of this weekend's games and more will be added this release when it is available.

> 2022 NCAA Divsion III Women's Lacrosse Championship Bracket