Junior Erica Devito scored four goals and dished out three assists to lead No. 1 Adelphi (20-0) to a 17-4 rout of No. 3 Limestone in the Division II women's lacrosse national championship game at Motamed Field on the campus of Adelphi University.
It is the third straight national title for the Panthers.
Senior Elizabeth Fey and junior Marissa Mills each scored four goals. Junior Claire Petersen, who finished the season with 125 assists to lead the nation, had four helpers. She was named the most valuable player of the tournament. Freshman goalie Frankie Caridi had six saves. Limestone, which finished at 18-2, got three goals from Chelsea Treat.
Adelphi head coach Joe Spallina was pleased that his team saved its best for last.
"Our focus all season long was to play our best lacrosse at the end of the season, and to have our best effort in the national championship game,” Spallina said. “We played sloppy in the final last year. I’m not at all surprised with how the game turned out."
The Panthers got on the board quickly when sophomore Demmianne Cook scored an unassisted goal to get Adelphi rolling. It was Cook’s 44th goal of the year.
Just a minute later the Panthers scored a fast break goal that lacrosse fans will be talking about for years to come. Fey carried the ball deep into the zone before making a behind-the-back pass to Petersen. As if that wasn’t enough, Petersen quickly made another behind-the-back feed to Devito who buried the ball in the top corner of the net for the first of her four goals.
Spallina thought the goal sent a message to Limestone. “I know it was early in the game, but when you come down and make a play like that, it’s tough for anyone to rebound from it,” he said. “I think if Limestone had doubts coming into the game, they were confirmed at that point. I think they had a tough time regaining their composure after that.”
Mills scored two unassisted goals, 10 seconds apart, to give the Panthers a 4-0 lead with 20:23 remaining in the opening half. Devito and senior Kaitlyn Carter would add goals before Treat finally put the Saints on the scoreboard off a nice feed from Raquel Prager.
Prager, who finished the season with a team-leading 60 goals, would find the back of the net just once in the title game after scoring six in the 10-9 semifinal win over West Chester.
Freshman Devan Crimi answered Treat’s goal less than two minutes later to make the score 7-1. Devito’s third goal, off a pass from Petersen, gave the Panthers a seven-goal lead as the teams headed to the locker room at the half.
Any thoughts of a comeback went away quickly as Adelphi got goals from Mills, Cook and Fey to open up the second half. After Treat scored twice to cut the deficit to 11-3, sophomore Meg Brown scored once, and Fey scored twice to give the Panthers an insurmountable 14-3 lead.
Fey, Petersen, Caridi, Mills and Cook all were named to the All-Tournament team.
With the win, Adelphi becomes the first team to win three consecutive Division II national titles. Spallina was excited about the accomplishment.
“I read something where someone said it’s old news at Adelphi,” Spallina said. “Winning a national championship is never old news; it will never be old news. Every year you have a different group. This group is very special. It’s a fun group that genuinely cares about one another. They’re an awesome bunch.”
Gettysburg Takes Division III Title
In the Division III title game, Gettysburg College (19-4) won its first championship with a 16-5 romp over Bowdoin College. Hannah Church scored five goals and assisted on three others to pick up most valuable player honors. Freshman Kelsey Markiewicz added four goals for the Bullets. Bowdoin finished with a record of 18-4.