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Feb. 7, 2018 — NCAA Division III preview

Al’s Fearless 5ive

College of New Jersey
Gettysburg
Trinity
William Smith
York

Anyone familiar with the history of the College of New Jersey women’s lacrosse team didn’t believe what they were witnessing in the final nine minutes of last year’s Division III championship game. In that time frame, the Lions lost the lead and allowed the opposition to run a stall the last three minutes to win the game — which had been TCNJ’s winning formula over the years.

But with the new free-movement rules plus the possession clock in Division III, the question now arises: can head coach Sharon Pfluger and her staff gin up a go-go-go style of lacrosse for 60 minutes as opposed to the tactical style that stifled opposing teams? Leading scorer Kathleen Jaeger (53 goals) returns. So does close defender Elizabeth Morrison, who had 61 draw controls and 59 caused turnovers. With just two players graduated, this could be the Lions’ year.

It won’t be easy, however, with teams like Gettysburg lying in the weeds. Steph Colson was the difference for the Bullets after returning to the team in mid-season, and senior attacker Katie Landry (43 assists) will be feeding from the back of the goal. If the rest of the team can rise to her level, watch out.

Perhaps the most exciting young team in Division III will be York. The team was led last year by freshman phenom Meghan Fox (39 goals). The Spartans’ program has worked for years to get in the elite of Division III, and last year’s unforgettable run through the NCAA Tournament, where it fell at the quarterfinal round.

The team that beat York that day was Trinity. The Bantams have been a fixture in the Final Four during the 2010s, although 2017 saw the team miss out on its seventh straight national final. Though the team graduates nine seniors, attacking midfielder Kylie Coffee is going to be a handful, as she had 43 draw controls and 58 goals last season.

Another team to watch is William Smith, a team which has not made a Final Four since 2003. The Herons are a hungry bunch, and look to follow the lead of senior Melissa Moore, who had 47 goals a year ago.

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