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East Stroudsburg was one of four lower-seeded teams to beat top seeds on Saturday.

Four No. 1 Seeds Lose in NCAA Division II Women's Quarterfinals

May 18, 2024
Paul Ohanian
Kevin P. Tucker

Saturday may have been the most unprecedented and dramatic day in the history of the NCAA Division II women’s tournament, with all four No. 1 seeds losing in regional finals on their home fields.

Defending national champion Pace (East), West Chester (Atlantic), Florida Southern (South) and Maryville (Midwest) all had their seasons ended by lower-seeded visitors. Further, Pace and West Chester entered the day undefeated — a combined 41-0 — and had been ranked Nos. 1-2 in the national polls all season long.

Next week’s national semifinals in Winter Park, Fla., will now feature two No. 2 seeds in Adelphi and Tampa, and two No. 3 seeds in East Stroudsburg and Regis. The teams will be reseeded to determine the matchups for Thursday’s national semifinals.

A closer look at Saturday’s four games:

East Region: Adelphi 13, Pace 10 

Call it championship pedigree or simply the ability to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. Whatever it may be, Adelphi (18-3) displayed all of it Saturday to upend defending champion and previously undefeated Pace to win the East Regional and earn another trip to the final four. The Panthers are the most decorated team in NCAA Division II history and will be chasing their 10th national title next week in Florida.

Adelphi rallied from a 4-1 first-quarter deficit by taking control with four straight goals from four different players in the fourth quarter. The game featured six ties, the last at 9 on Mackenzie Carita’s goal for Pace with 13:01 left.

Back-to-back player-up goals by Adelphi’s Alexandra Leggio and Ashley Kolomechuk over the next two minutes would give the Panthers their biggest lead and one they would not relinquish. A free position by Kelly-Ann McGrath and another player-up score by Kerrin Heuser 70 seconds later extended the margin to 13-9 and provided breathing room with 3:30 left.

Pace had won 25 straight games dating back to last year and 42 of its last 44 prior to Saturday. Adelphi’s win avenged two earlier losses against Pace this season and sends the Panthers back to the final four for the sixth time in coach Pat McCabe’s 10-year tenure.

Atlantic Region: East Stroudsburg 13, West Chester 12

On a day when West Chester’s All-American midfielder Hannah Stanislawczyk became her program’s all-time scoring leader and just the fourth player in Division II history to reach the 300-goal plateau, it was the All-American midfielder on the other side of the field, Emily Mitarotonda, who stole the day, leading No. 3 seed East Stroudsburg (14-6) to the comeback win.

Trailing for most of the game, including their largest deficit of 11-7 after three quarters, the Warriors rallied by scoring the final four goals over the last seven minutes. Mitarotonda finished with a game-high eight points, including two of the final four goals. After Mitarotonda tied the score at 12 on a free position with 4:51 left, sophomore Courtney Reynolds netted the winner on an assist from Maddy Poltrack with 53 seconds left.

Playing in a steady rain for much of the afternoon, the teams combined for 41 turnovers, but East Stroudsburg made just enough plays down the stretch to earn it a third final four trip in the past four full seasons. Timely saves from junior goalie Abby Simonetti over the final 16 minutes helped provide the opportunity for Mitarotonda and the offense to rally in this third meeting of the year between the PSAC rivals.

For the second straight season, West Chester finishes with a single loss, while Stanislawczyk finishes her storied career with 302 career goals, the fourth most in D-II history.

South Region: Tampa 11, Florida Southern 9 

No. 2 seed Tampa played a nearly flawless first half in building a 9-2 advantage and then withstood a second-half surge from top-seeded Florida Southern to win the South Region and claim its first final four berth.

Tampa coach Kelly Gallagher could not have scripted a better first half for her Spartans, who spotted FSC the first goal and then answered with seven straight and nine of the next 10. Senior All-American Sarah Hinkle, Tampa’s all-time leader in goals and points, scored all three of her goals in the first half, and attacker Gracie Colombo added two goals and two assists to fuel the offense. Jenna Myhal’s goal with two seconds left capped an almost flawless 30 minutes for the Spartans (17-3).

The second half proved to be a different story, with the Mocs limiting Tampa’s offense to just two goals while mounting their comeback. Three second-half goals by FSC’s Sammy Gorrasi fueled the rally; her third goal with 1:28 left pulled the Mocs to within two, but time ran short and Tampa claimed its second road win over FSC in the span of three weeks. The Spartans also won the SSC championship on Berend Field.

Midwest Region: Regis 10, Maryville 9

Junior Megan Bunker’s free position goal with five seconds remaining, her only goal of the day, lifted No. 3 seed Regis (20-1) past top-seeded Maryville and pushed the Rangers back into the final four for the first time since going back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. Regis extended its winning streak to 16 games and avenged its only loss of the year, a home setback against Maryville on March 16.

Midfielder Shea Murphy paced Regis with three goals and two assists, while the Ranger defense, fourth stingiest in the nation, held Maryville’s top-ranked offense to less than 10 goals for just the second time this season. Goalie Elizabeth Myotte anchored the unit with nine saves.

Maryville’s All-American Sydney Tiemann, the nation’s second leading scorer, finished with a team-high three goals and caps her career as Division II’s all-time leader with 321 career goals.