Syracuse University may have exited the NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament last weekend, but there are still plenty of teams with local ties competing in NCAA play this weekend.
The NCAA Division II semifinal matchup between No. 1 Le Moyne College and No. 3 Mercyhurst on Sunday features seven north country athletes on the two teams’ rosters.
The game starts at 1 p.m. at Saxon Stadium in Erie, Pa., as Mercyhurst (12-1) is hosting the North Regional final.
Former General Brown standout Bryce Johnson sits third on the Lakers in scoring with 57 points (25 goals, 27 assists). Johnson, a sophomore midfielder, has played in all 13 games.
Former Watertown High player Joel Robare, also a sophomore midfielder for the Lakers, has appeared in six games and scored a goal. Ex-Ogdensburg Free Academy player Stephen Morley, a long-stick midfielder, has played five games and contributed an assist. General Brown graduate Brendan Eyestone, a sophomore goalie, has played in four games with a 5.14 goals-against average and .556 save percentage with five saves.
For Le Moyne (13-0), former WHS player Nick Mallette, a freshman defender, has played three games. Sophomores Ryder Simser of Watertown, a midfielder, and Hayden Hoerner of Massena, a goalie, have yet to play.
The winner Sunday advances to play the winner of the semifinal between Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate at 1 p.m. May 30 in East Hartford, Conn.
In the NCAA Division III tournament, Salisbury University continues its quest for a 13th NCAA title and its first since 2017 with a quarterfinal game against Illinois-Wesleyan (15-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Salisbury, Md.
Salisbury (15-1) is playing in its 31st straight NCAA tournament and is led by Watertown native Jim Berkman, the all-time wins leader in NCAA coaching history. Berkman, a three-time NCAA Division III Coach of the Year, is looking for his 28th NCAA semifinal appearance with a win.
Berkman has coached several north country standout players. Carthage graduate Luke Piroli is the most recent area native on the Sea Gulls. He’s played in four games as a sophomore midfielder.
A victory Saturday moves Salisbury into the semifinals Sunday against the winner of a quarterfinal between Lynchburg and Christopher Newport.
SYRACUSE HOSTS FLORIDA
The Syracuse women’s lacrosse team will play No. 6 Florida in an NCAA Division I quarterfinals game at 2 p.m. Saturday at the SU soccer stadium in Syracuse.
Syracuse, the No. 3 seed, advances to the NCAA semifinals with a victory. The Syracuse-Florida winner will play the Duke-Northwestern winner next Friday in Towson, Md. The final is May 30 in Towson.
Former South Jefferson all-star Morgan Alexander is a graduate student who plays attack for the Orange (15-3). She’s posted five goals in 13 games. Ex-Carthage standout Braelie Kempney, a junior, plays midfield and has appeared in 10 games.
Northwestern (14-0) includes former Watertown High standout Jill Girardi, a senior who has appeared in 14 games, including two starts. Girardi has posted three goals and two assists. She registered a career-high 12 draw controls in a game against Maryland on March 29.
In the Division III tournament, St. John Fisher (18-1) will take on Tufts University (9-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday in a semifinal game at Kerr Stadium in Salem, Va.
South Jefferson graduate Mackenzie Alexander, Morgan’s sister, is fifth on the team with 33 points (30 goals, 3 assists). A sophomore midfielder, Alexander has played in all 19 games.
If St. John Fisher wins, it will play the winner of the other semifinal between Denison and Salisbury at 5 p.m. Sunday for the championship in Salem, Va.
EASTERN CONNECTICUT FALLS
Third-seeded Brandeis University rallied from a five-run deficit with six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat No. 4 Eastern Connecticut State and Sandy Creek graduate Carley Stoker in the NCAA Division III regionals Friday in Bangor, Maine.
Eastern Connecticut (30-3) must win a game against top-seeded Husson University (28-1) at 10 a.m. Saturday to stay alive in the tournament.
Stoker replaced Warriors starting pitcher Alyssa Vilchez in the first inning after Brandeis scored two runs. She lasted until the seventh inning with Eastern Connecticut ahead 9-4.
Stoker walked the first two batters in the seventh and was relieved by Brooke Matyasovsky. Brandeis proceeded to score six runs on five hits and an infield error with Alyssa Renskers delivering the game-winning, two-out single.