Keiser (Fla.) Captures Inaugural NAIA Women’s Lacrosse Championship
SAVANNAH, Ga. – [Schedule] [Bracket] In a game that saw six ties, top-seed Keiser scored three of the final four goals of the game to break a 10-10 tie and capture the inaugural NAIA Women’s Lacrosse Championship 13-11 over No. 2 Cumberlands Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. With the win, the Seahawks caps off a perfect season finish the year 16-0.
Keiser used a four-goal run to close out the first half and a three-goal run late in the second half to pull away from the Patriots. Cumberlands closes out their season with a 16-2 record and as the NAIA National Runner-Up.
It was a back-and-forth battle right from the opening draw as the two teams traded goals twice in the first ten minutes of play. Cumberlands won the ensuing draw control as Emily Heim raced upfield for a goal ten seconds later. Two minutes later, Keiser responded as Madalyn Huber connected with Talia Myers for the equalizer. Bella Ricchiazzi converted a free position to put the Patriots back in front, however, a pair of Seahawks goals from Melanie Brown and Madalyn Huber gave Keiser its first lead of the game at 5-4 with 13:29 remaining in the first half. The two teams traded goals before Huber recorded an unassisted goal to spark a 3-0 Seahawks run to close out the half and give Keiser a 9-5 lead at the break.
Cumberlands looked to rally in the second half as Carolina Johnson netted an unassisted goal one minute in to cut it to 9-6. Ricchiazzi netted two of the Patriots next three goals to even the score at 9-9 with 13:20 remaining. After the teams traded goals, Andrews converted a free position give Keiser an 11-10 edge with 6:40 left. Lena Finkelstein and Myers each added a goal to extend the Seahawks lead to 13-10 with 4:46 left. Cumberlands added a goal with 2:18 remaining but that the closest the Patriots came as Jessica Covell made a pair of her eight second-half saves for the 13-11 final.
Andrews led the way for Keiser with four goals, five points, and five draw controls. Meyers added a hat trick, while Cat Raymond and Huber finished with three points apiece. Hannah Reeder notched three caused turnovers as Covell made 13 saves in cage.
The Patriots were led by Ricchiazzi with five points and three ground balls as Heim notched a hat trick and five draw controls. Olivia McCarrell made a game-high 14 saves as Florence Andrieu scooped three ground balls for Cumberlands.
Following the game Keiser’s Head Coach Lauren Bennett was named the 2021 NAIA Women’s Lacrosse National Coach of the Year. In addition to that 15 players from the tournament were selected to the NAIA All-Tournament Team highlighted by the tournament MVP which was given to goalie Jessica Covell of Keiser.
2021 NAIA Women’s Lacrosse All-Tournament Team
Attack – Tina Ricci, Life (Ga.)
Attack – Bella Ricchiazzi, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Attack – Cat Raymond, Keiser (Fla.)
Attack – Alexis Nicole, Siena Heights (Mich.)
Mid – Morgan McGhee, Reinhardt (Ga.)
Mid – Madison Andrews, Keiser (Fla.)
Mid – Emily Heim, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Mid – Melanie Brown, Keiser (Fla.)
Mid – Maria Arivzu, Life (Ga.)
Defense – Trinity Brown, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Defense – Rebecca Gibson, Keiser (Fla.)
Defense – Abby Barnewold, Lawrence Tech (Mich.)
Defense – Hannah Churchley, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Goalie – Olivia McCarrell, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Most Valuable Player – Jessica Covell, Keiser (Fla.)