The top-seeded Arcadia University women’s lacrosse team won an 11-8 Freedom Conference semifinal match over fourth-seeded FDU-Florham on May 1 at Easton Field, and in doing so advanced to the conference title game for the second straight season.
The Knights will host the Freedom Conference Championship Game on Saturday, May 3, at 3 p.m. at Easton Field against second-seeded Wilkes University, which won a wild 26-19 semifinal match against third-seeded Misericordia University Thursday.
Arcadia never trailed in its semifinal match with the Devils, scoring the first three goals in the game to go up 3-0 with 7:44 left in the first half. FDU went on to score three of the next five goals, giving the Knights a 5-3 lead at the half.
Senior Sara Volk-Perez capped the first half scoring with her 25th goal of the season for Arcadia with just 43 seconds remaining, and then opened the second half scoring 4:38 into the frame to give the Knights a 6-3 lead. Back-to-back goals from freshman Joelle Manganella in a span of 2:27 pulled the Devils back within one, 6-5, 7:15 into the second half.
Arcadia answered by scoring five of the next six goals to take control of the game, a run that was capped off by junior Haylee Molloy’s lone goal of the contest to give the Knights an 11-6 advantage with 3:49 to go.
Junior Courtney Rendinaro scored back-to-back goals to pull FDU back within three with 1:01 left for the 11-8 final.
The Knights had seven different goal scorers in the game. Volk-Perez finished with two goals and one assist, while junior Jaclyn Feffer and sophomores Adeline Bellesheim and Dawn Faranetta added two goals each.
Senior Jenna Crothers scored one goal and added three assists, raising her school-record points total to 104 for the season and her single-season record assist total to 73. Her assist on Volk-Perez’s second goal of the game marked the 200th point of her collegiate career, and her career assist record now stands at 109.
Molloy also had one goal and dished out three assists for Arcadia. She now has 240 career points, and is seven away from matching Traci Conrad’s career-record total of 247 points. Junior Jaclyn Feffer added one goal with three draw controls.
Sophomore Jordyn Dunacucky totaled 13 saves as she improved her record to 17-0 for the season. Those 17 wins are a single-season record.
Manganella scored a game-high four goals to lead FDU, while also collecting five draw controls. Rendinaro finished with two goals, both of which came in the final three and a half minutes.
Junior Grace Warburton fell to 6-9 after allowing eight goals with just three saves in 40:32 in net for the Devils. Freshman Julia Santillo allowed three goals with one stop in the final 19:28.
Arcadia won the regular season meeting with Wilkes by a final count of 19-3 back on April 12 at Easton Field. The Knights have won six in a row over the Colonels, including a 16-11 decision in the 2013 Freedom Conference semifinals, which is the only postseason meeting between the two programs.
The winner of Saturday’s Freedom Conference Championship Game will earn the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. Should Arcadia advance it would mark the first NCAA tournament berth in program history and would put an Arcadia team in the NCAA tournament for the first time since the men’s soccer team qualified for the 2006 NCAA Division III Championship.