Adelphi celebrates beating Pace University in the NCAA Division II women's...

Adelphi celebrates beating Pace University in the NCAA Division II women's lacrosse tournament on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Credit: Adelphi Athletics

Adelphi’s women’s lacrosse team is back where it belongs — the Final Four of the NCAA Division II tournament.

The top-seeded Panthers will face No. 4 East Stroudsburg in the semifinals at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Showalter Stadium in Winter Park, Florida.

Adelphi (18-3) punched its ticket to its 15th Final Four with a 13-10 win over previously undefeated Pace in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The Panthers’ nine national titles are the most in Division II, but they’re looking for their first championship since 2019.

“This is the chance for a group of kids that has not won a championship yet to etch their name in the history of one of the most storied programs in women’s lacrosse,” said head coach Pat McCabe, who has led Adelphi to three national titles in his 10 years at the helm. “Many of them are in their fourth or fifth year with the program. It would be one of my greatest feelings in coaching to see them finish this off.”

Kerrin Heuser had three goals and an assist and Ashley Kolomechuk scored three goals to help the Panthers avenge its two losses to Pace, including a 16-14 loss in the Northeast 10 Conference championship game on May 11. Pace also took a 12-11 win at Adelphi on April 10.

“I have a lot of respect for Pace, they had a great season and they gave us a run for our money,” said Heuser, a graduate student from Hicksville. “Playing a team that likes to get out of this region also prepares us well for what’s in front of us.”

Adelphi’s only other loss was in overtime against East Stroudsburg on March 9. The Panthers led 10-6 in the third quarter but allowed five straight goals in the 11-10 defeat. Heuser and Kelly-Ann McGrath (Carey) each scored three goals and Jillian McFadden (Mount Sinai) made 11 saves.

“That was just something to learn from,” said Kolomechuk, a freshman from Commack. “We were just starting out and we didn’t know how to play with each other as well as we do now. Looking back on that, we can just trust ourselves and know we can pull it through this time.”

That day, Emily Mitarotonda had seven goals and an assist for East Stroudsburg (14-6) and scored four consecutive goals, including the tying score with three seconds left in regulation.

“We had a feeling we might see them again because they’re very good, with great coaching and one of the better players in the country in Mitarotonda,” McCabe said.

A win on Thursday would advance Adelphi to the championship game, where they would play the winner of No. 2 Tampa/No. 3 Regis at noon on Saturday.

Adelphi last made the Final Four in 2022, when the Panthers suffered an 11-6 loss to the University of Indianapolis in the semifinals.

“This is my last chance to ever compete for my dream of a national championship,” Heuser said. “In 2022, I got the taste of what a Final Four feels like, but I also got the taste of what losing was like on that stage, and I never want to feel that pain again.”


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