Memphis, Tenn. - For the first time in the program's six years of existence, the Transylvania women's lacrosse team will appear in the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament on Sunday, May 13 when it takes on the Rhodes College Lynx in Memphis, Tennessee.
As regular-season and conference tournament champions of the Ohio River Women's Lacrosse Conference, the Pioneers (18-1, 11-0 ORLC) will visit Rhodes (14-3, 6-0 Southern Athletic Association) in a second-round tournament opener at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time at Mason Field.
Transylvania has posted the highest win total in program history in 2018 and carry a program-record 16-game winning streak into its first NCAA Tournament game versus Rhodes. The Lynx enter the NCAA Tournament on an eight-game winning streak, their longest of the season.
Each team gained a berth into the NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning their respective conference tournament championships; Transylvania defeated Hanover 26-2 in the ORLC semifinal and Washington and Jefferson 21-2 in the tournament championship to clinch its first NCAA Tournament berth. Rhodes disposed of Centre College 24-14 in its tournament championship game to advance to its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Sunday's game pits a matchup between two of the top offensive forces in Division III women's lacrosse. Transylvania ranks second in the country in goals per game at 19.79 goals per contest. Rhodes is not far behind, ranking fifth nationally in goals per game at 18.29 per game.
The Pioneers have constituted a full-field attack, limiting opponents to 4.42 goals per game, which ranks second in the country. Rhodes has put up 20 or more goals in a game seven times this season while the Pioneers have authored 13 games of 20 goals or more.
In addition to fielding deep teams, the Pioneers and Lynx each also boast a plethora of individual firepower. Rhodes attacker Kendall Cunningham is fifth in the country in goals per game, scoring 5.24 times a contest. Transylvania freshman attacker Shelby Wuest is the team's leading goal-scorer at 4.31 goals per game and leads the Pioneers with 82 total goals this season.
The Pioneers sport six different players with 30 goals or more this season, including Wuest, senior attacker Julia Ward (55 goals), freshman midfielder Salem Carlow (41), junior midfielder Emma Oliver (37), freshman midfielder Rachel Johnston (34), and sophomore midfielder Brianna McCulley (33). Wuest also leads the team in assists with 49 on the year, followed by Oliver (36) and Carlow (15).
Transylvania and Rhodes have two common opponents in the 2018 season: Rhodes defeated Sewanee 16-6 in its season opener on February 17 while the Pioneers beat Sewanee 14-13 on March 11. Transylvania defeated Birmingham-Southern 21-8 on March 17 while Rhodes took care of B-SC 26-15 one week later on March 24.
The winner of Sunday's game will advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament to take on the winner of Trinity (Conn.) and the play-in winner of Springfield and Elms on May 19-20.
Rhodes is coached by Meghan Keelan, who is 33-4 in her two seasons as head coach of the Lynx. Transylvania is led by fourth-year head coach Lauren Bickford, who carries a 52-17 record during her time at Transy into Sunday's tournament game.
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