Final day of pool play leaves unanswered questions at DI National Championships

2014-03-14

While three teams have already clinched their spot in the Final Four, Robert Morris (IL), Adrian and Liberty are battling for the final spot.

The hunt for a berth in the Final Four will have two significantly different battles for the two respective pools at the Women’s DI National Championship. While Pool A has been decided, every team is still alive in Pool B entering Friday’s final day of pool play.

Miami and Rhode Island will face off at 3:30 to determine nothing more than the top seed coming out of Pool A. Each team won both of their contests on Thursday as Miami took 5-2 and 6-3 wins over Michigan State and Michigan, respectively. URI knocked off the two Great Lakes State squads by scores of 4-1 and 4-3.

The matching 2-0 records means that both Miami and URI are guaranteed a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.

The winner of today’s game will face the second place team from Pool B while the loser will face the Pool B winner.

Kaley Mooney has driven the Redhawks to this point, picking up a goal and two assists against MSU and rolling up a hat trick against Michigan in the nightcap. Cassie Catlow has been the Rams driving force as she opened and closed the scoring for the Rams in their 4-1 win over Michigan.

In Pool B, UMass is sitting pretty but have not clinched a spot in Saturday’s semifinal yet. A pair of 2-1 wins have them in the driver’s seat but they still need to knock off Robert Morris to move on to the semis.

Caleigh LaBossiere has been the MVP for UMass thus far. She opened the scoring in their 2-1 win over Liberty and then netted the game winner in OT against Adrian later in the day. LaBossiere’s clutch play has UMass in control of their own destiny despite a convoluted scenario in pool B.

UMass is guaranteed to advance to the next round to join URI and Miami. But Adrian, Liberty and RMU each have an equal chance at moving on. As Adrian is the only other team with a win, they control whether or not they advance. A win or tie against RMU guarantees a berth in the semis for Adrian. However a win by RMU would give the Eagles a 1-1-1 record while Adrian would have a 1-2 record. The same goes for a win by Liberty. comes into play. Wins by those two teams kick a tiebreaker into action that’s based on a number of factors that includes goals allowed (first tiebreaker) and goal differential (second tiebreaker).

On the DII side, North Dakota State made their mark on the first day of play with a big 7-1 win over Delaware. Kacie Johnson scored four on the night with NDSU scoring four times in the first period alone to run away with their first win.

Penn State scored three-straight between the second and third period to pull ahead 3-1 on Alaska and seal their first win of the tournament. Alaska brought the difference back to one thanks to a late goal by Cayla Witta but it wasn’t enough as Devon Fisk’s third period tally went down as the game winner for PSU.

Iowa State scored four times in the first and opened a 5-0 lead over Michigan State by the end of the second in their 5-1 win on Thursday. MSU got on the board in the third period but Ashley Bye led ISU with a pair of goals as they cruised to their first win of the tournament.

UW-LaCrosse battled back from a 2-0 first period deficit to earn an important tie with Cal (PA). With each team playing a pair of games on Friday, LaCrosse would have been in a deep hole had they not came back against the Vulcans. While the tie doesn’t stake either team to the head start that PSU, ISU or NDSU jumped out to, it keeps LaCrosse from falling behind the rest of the competition.

Friday features double headers on the WDII side and the final matchups of WDI pool play. Both sets of games will determine the berths to Saturday’s semifinals.