MADISON, N.J. – With one more sport still to announce NCAA selections, five Landmark teams have earned selection to NCAA Division III Championship play and will represent the conference beginning on Wednesday May 11. The first teams will be in action on Wednesday as two teams take part in opening round games. One more will begin competition on Thursday, with the other two getting into action on Friday.
The two Landmark lacrosse champions will get things started on Wednesday as The Catholic University of America women's lacrosse team hosts an opening round game at 4 p.m., and The University of Scranton men's lacrosse team travels for its opening round game which starts at 2 p.m. Moravian College's women's tennis team gets its NCAA competition underway on Thursday with an opening-round matchup at 12 p.m., and men's tennis Champions Drew University will play an opening-round match on Friday at 2 p.m. Also beginning competition on Friday will be the Moravian softball team which begins play in a six-team softball regional with their first game beginning at 12 p.m.
This marks the second year the Landmark has earned automatic qualification to the NCAA Championships for its conference winners, and four teams in action this week were recipients of the Landmark's automatic bid while Catholic women's lacrosse earned a Pool-B bid given to institutions whose conferences do not have an automatic qualification in a given sport.
Catholic women's lacrosse (14-3) will host Mary Washington (13-7) in its opening-round game on Wednesday, with the winner moving on to face the winner of the match between The College of New Jersey (17-0) and Gwynedd-Mercy College (11-7). This is Catholic's fourth-straight NCAA Championship appearance as the Cardinals claimed a fourth-consecutive Landmark crown with a one-goal win over Drew University. The Cardinals have been ranked in the IWLCA Top-20 poll throughout the season, and enter the Championship as the ninth-ranked team in Division III. Catholic has earned at least one win in each of the past three NCAA Championships, advancing to the Regional Championships in 2008. The Cardinals defeated Mary Washington, then ranked 17th in Division III, by a 12-8 score on the road early in the season.
Scranton (9-7) is making the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history after the team capped a furious late-season charge by upsetting Goucher College in the Landmark Championships. The Royals will travel to face Gettysburg College (11-6) on Wednesday, and would face the winner of the match between Colorado College (16-0) and Roanoke University (14-2) if it can get past Gettysburg. Scranton won its final two regular season games to earn a spot in the Landmark postseason, and then claimed a pair of postseason wins to earn its first conference title since 1985 in the first year under Head Coach Jim Rogalski. The Royals are looking for their first-ever victory over Gettysburg in what will be the ninth meeting between the two programs.
Moravian (10-6) has won three of the four Landmark Conference Championships in women's tennis and returns to the NCAA field for the first time since 2007. The Greyhounds will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. on Thursday to square off with Mary Washington (16-8) with the winner facing site hose Carnegie Mellon University (11-8) or Elizabethtown College on Friday. Moravian is making its second NCAA Championship appearance in program history, with its previous berth coming in 2007 when the team dropped its opening-round match to Johns Hopkins. The Greyhounds were the number-two seed for the Landmark postseason and pulled out consecutive 5-4 wins in the semifinals and championship to earn its automatic bid in a season in which Head Coach Dawn Ketterman-Benner earned her 250th career victory.
Drew (12-6) will battle Stevens Institute of Technology (11-5) in the opening round in a match played in Middlebury, Vt. on Friday, with a win meaning a matchup with Middlebury College (16-3) on Saturday. Drew is no stranger to the NCAA Championships, after making an appearance last year, and the Rangers have won 11-consecutive conference championships – four in the Landmark – and won their opening round NCAA match last season. The team topped Lycoming College 5-0 in the opening round of NCAA play last season, before falling to first-round host Johns Hopkins University. Drew suffered an 8-1 loss at the hands of Stevens on March 30, but has won eight of its nine matches since that setback.
Moravian (35-7) earned the number-two seed in the NCAA softball regional hosted by Cortland State in Cortland, N.Y. and will face off with The College of Staten Island (26-11) in a 12 p.m. game on Friday as part of the double-elimination regional. Moravian has qualified for the NCAA Championships in three of the four Landmark seasons, and won its regional last season, advancing to the NCAA Division III College World Series for the second time in program history. Moravian's berth is the 13th NCAA appearance in the past 14 seasons, and the team has won 30 or more games 13 times under Head Coach John Byrne, including each of the past 11 seasons. The Greyhounds did not face any of the five teams in its regional during the regular season, and the team enters the postseason ranked 23rd in the most recent NFCA Division III poll and was ranked fourth in the East Region in the NCAA Softball Regional Rankings.
Now in its fourth year the Landmark's five NCAA bids marks the second-most the conference has earned in the spring season. There will be at least one more team earning a bid as Landmark baseball champions Catholic will also be in the NCAA field when those pairings are released next week.