NCAA QUARTERFINAL: #2 Adelphi Holds Off #6/7 Stonehill, 10-6

Senior Emily Kessel capped her collegiate career with a pair of goals this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Marcello Cutti, Jr./Starlight Media)

Froccaro and Keesling power Panthers to first half lead they wouldn't relinquish 

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (May 9, 2015) – Top-seeded and defending national champions Adelphi University, ranked No. 2 in both the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Top 20 and Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II polls, scored the first seven goals of the game on its way to an 8-2 halftime lead and held off a second half comeback effort to claim a 10-6 victory over fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked sixth in the Lacrosse Magazine Top 20 and seventh in the IWLCA poll, in quarterfinal round action of the 2014 NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Tournament at Motamed Field today.

Adelphi (19-1, 12-1 NE-10) advances to next weekend's national semifinal round, hosted by Roanoke College, in Roanoke, Virginia, where it will face Le Moyne College (17-3, 12-1 NE-10, the North Region's No. 2 seed, on Saturday, May 16, at 11 a.m. The Dolphins advanced to the Final Four with a 13-9 victory over third-seeded University of New Haven (15-4, 11-2 NE-10) in today's other national quarterfinal from the North Region. Stonehill, which was making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, sees its season come to a close at 15-5 overall, including a 10-3 mark in the Northeast-10 Conference.

Senior Alexa Froccaro (Port Washington, New York/Port Washington) and junior Emily Keesling (Bel Air, Maryland/Patterson Mill) led Adelphi with a combined nine points as the Panthers were held to their lowest goal total in a win this season. Froccaro posted two goals and three assists for five points, while Keesling added two goals and two assists with two ground balls. Sophomore Jacqueline Jahelka (Garden City, New York/Garden City) netted a pair of goals, while junior Rachel O'Brien (Bayport, New York/Bayport-Blue Point) contributed a goal and assist with a caused turnover. Senior Danielle Jaycox (Amityville, New York/St. John the Baptist) was one of three other Panthers to chip in with a goal, while also collecting four ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Junior Taylor Hayes (Rockville Centre, New York/Kellenberg) finished with five saves, including three in the second half, to preserve the win in goal for Adelphi, adding two ground balls and a caused turnover. The Panthers doubled Stonehill in shots, 24-14, and forced 15 turnovers, while committing eight. Adelphi converted 10-of-11 clear attempts, compared to 7-for-13 for the Skyhawks, while draw controls were even at nine apiece.

Senior Ashley Armstrong kept the Skyhawks in the game with eight saves. (PHOTO BY Marcello Cutti, Jr./Starlight Media)

Senior Ashley Armstrong (Northborough, Massachusetts/Algonquin Regional) kept Stonehill in the game with eight saves, including six in the first half when Adelphi held a 17-4 shots advantage. Armstrong, who finished her career with a program record 534 saves and record matching 47 career wins, posted two first half stops on free-position attempts and also collected four ground balls and a caused turnover.

Senior Emily Kessel (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk), junior Rebecca Matheson (Reading, Massachusetts/Reading Memorial) and sophomore Elizabeth Vetter (Great River, New York/East Islip) all scored a pair of goals for Stonehill. Senior Lizzie Lane (Sandwich, Massachusetts/Bishop Stang) led the Skyhawks with four draw controls and five ground balls with a caused turnover.

Adelphi scored the first seven goals of the game, which proved to be a margin too much to overcome, in earning its trip to the Division II women's lacrosse Final Four. Jahelka scored the first two goals of the contest just 25-seconds apart in the opening three and a half minutes of the game. Armstrong made three of her six first half saves over the first ten minutes of the contest to hold the deficit at two, while Hayes stopped a Stonehill free-position shot to keep the Skyhawks off the board at the other end.

Froccaro had a hand in Adelphi's next three goals within a four minute span to provide some breathing room. She set up a goal from junior Danielle Montano (Rockville Centre, New York/Oceanside) with 16:49 remaining in the half and then netted a pair of unassisted tallies to give the Panthers a five goal lead with 12:14 remaining. Keesling assisted on goals from junior Rachel Aitkens (Whitehouse Station, New Jersey/Hunterdon Central) with 5:48 to go before halftime and then an O'Brien tally 58-seconds later.

Matheson put Stonehill on the board a minute later with an unassisted marker with 3:50 to play in the half, but Keesling answered with Adelphi's eighth goal of the half, set up by Froccaro just 30-seconds after. Kessel converted a free-position shot to pull the Skyhawks back within six and then the defense held the Panthers the remaining of the half.

Vetter and Kessel scored over the first 5:06 of the second half to pull Stonehill back in the game with a four goal deficit with 24:54 still to play. Vetter's first goal of the afternoon was an assisted marker 3:18 into the half, while Kessel scored off a pass from senior Cassandra McGill (Westborough, Massachusetts/Westborough) less than two minutes later.

Stonehill was unable to make any further headway into its deficit and Adelphi sealed the win as Keesling netted an unassisted marker with 10:31 remaining and then Jaycox scored off a Froccaro feed with 2:12 left. The Skyhawks still wouldn't go quietly, with Vetter adding her second goal of the after with 1:27 remaining and then Matheson potting her second with 1:02 on the clock. The Panthers then won the draw and ran the clock out from there to close out the win.     

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