Davidson Lacrosse Sets Sights on Atlantic 10 Championship
DAVIDSON, N.C. — The Davidson lacrosse team’s dynamic season isn’t over just yet, as the Wildcats will embark on a 780-mile journey from North Carolina to Amherst, Massachusetts this week, with the ‘Cats set to face the UMass Minutewomen in the Atlantic 10 Championships’ semifinal matchup.
WHAT YOU MISSED… The Wildcats are having one of their most prolific seasons in school history, finishing with an 11-3 overall record and 6-1 conference ledger. Davidson’s conference record is the team’s best A-10 finish in program history, and best finish in league play since 2014. Checking in at the No. 3 seed, the ‘Cats earned their highest seed ever in the A-10 tournament, since joining the league in 2014-15, while clinching their first Atlantic 10 Championship berth since 2018. Building up to the championship tournament, Davidson has lost only to fellow South Division representative, Richmond, in league play, while also going on a six-game win streak this season, defeating a ranked team for the first time in program history and helping Head Coach Kim Wayne capture her 100th career win.
ABOUT UMASS… The Minutewomen are the A-10’s Co-Regular Season Champions, sharing the title with the Richmond Spiders. Despite sharing the title, UMass is the No. 2 seed overall in the tournament, and is currently ranked in two of the three major college lacrosse polls. The Minutewomen’s highest ranking currently comes from US Lacrosse Magazine at No. 20, while earning a No. 22 slot from the IWLCA Coaches Poll and is receiving votes from Inside Lacrosse’s Poll.
INSIDE THE SERIES… Davidson is 0-7 all-time against UMass, and has previously met the Minutewomen in the A-10’s semifinals. Back in May of 2018, the Wildcats fell 19-11 to UMass with then-freshman Olivia Carey recording two goals and one assist against the Minutewomen.
NOTHING NEW… Meeting ranked opponents is nothing new for this 2021 Wildcat squad. Davidson hosted No. 15 Duke on February 12, falling 16-11, but later defeated No. 16 Virginia Tech, 15-8, for the program’s first win over a ranked opponent in program history. Last weekend, the ‘Cats met No. 12 Richmond and hung tough with the Spiders through 40 minutes of play, until Richmond scored six of the last seven goals to win the contest, 15-11.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT… Wildcat senior Sam Rippley has had an illustrious career with Davidson lacrosse and last weekend, the midfielder scored her 100th career point against Richmond. This season, the Colorado native leads the team with 41 goals and is fourth among the A-10 in total goals scored. Rippley ranks 58th nationally, with a 54.5 percent free position percentage, and sits 61st in Division I lacrosse with 2.93 goals per game.
SISTER, SISTER… Davidson’s sisterly duo, of Julianne Carey and Olivia Carey, has made a splash this season, as the freshman/senior pair has combined for 70 of the Wildcats’ 303 total points. With 16 assists from Olivia and 14 from Julianne, the two are among the top-3 with the most dishes on the team. Julianne has also grabbed 61 draw controls and seven A-10 Rookie of the Week awards this season, the most weekly honors for a freshman in the history of Atlantic 10 lacrosse.
SPREAD THE WEALTH… Davidson’s Wildcat trio of Grace Fahey, Erin Cooke and Gianna New has been heating up over the last few weeks. As a sophomore, Cooke has been an unsung hero for the ‘Cats this season, recording 3+ points in her last eight-straight outings and has dished 18 assists during that stretch. In a win over GW earlier this month, New recorded a career-high seven goals, just one shy of the program’s eight-goal record, and Fahey added six goals and an assist of her own. Thanks to the efforts from the three attackers, Davidson ranks 19th nationally with 21.64 points per game and 22nd with 6.86 assists per game.
BRICK BY BRICK… The Wildcat defense has played a critical role in the team’s success this season, as Davidson ranks 24th nationally with 9.64 caused turnovers per game and aids netminder Amanda Monahan with a 10.06 goals against average, which is good for 19th nationally. Senior defender Natalie Junior averages a team-best 2.00 caused turnovers per game, which is the second most among the A-10 and ranks 18th across Division I lacrosse.