COLLEGES: Bridgewater State lacrosse, tennis teams set for NCAA tournaments

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The women’s lacrosse and tennis teams at Bridgewater State University have become regular participants in the NCAA Division 3 tournaments.


For the fifth consecutive year, the lacrosse team has reached the national tournament and will play at Amherst College on Saturday at 1 p.m.


The tennis team, which was undefeated in its fall season, has qualified for the NCAAs for the third time in four years and takes on Wilkes University of Pennsylvania today in Brunswick, Maine.


First-year lacrosse coach Holly Drown, who played at UMass-Amherst, guided the Bears (14-5) to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship.


BSU had only four returning starters from a team that went 17-3 a year ago, but after losing three of the first five games, the Bears put it all together to get back to the NCAAs.


“We have had a great season,’’ said Drown. “We had a couple of tough losses, but they’ve prepared us for this point in the season.


“I wish we could get back some of the early losses because now we’re at the point where the kids are blossoming and coming into their own. Definitely, all the pieces are coming together.’’


Senior midfielder Taylor Clancy of Braintree was selected the MASCAC player of the year while freshman Melissa Renauld was picked as the rookie of the year.


Clancy has 68 goals and 27 assists while Renauld has 64 goals and 21 assists to lead BSU.


“Taylor just gets everything done,’’ said Drown.


Joining Clancy and Renauld on the all-conference first team were senior defender Braylan Wenzel and sophomore midfielder Lauren Geary (45 goals, 13 assists) of Hull while junior attack Riley Cachelin (32 goals, 40 assists) made the second team.


The Bears’ opponent, Amherst, is ranked fifth in the nation with a 16-2 record. The Jeffs, who are in the NCAAs for the 11th time, went 14-0 to open the season.


They have allowed only 99 goals in 18 games with Christy Forrest leading the way with a 5.50 goals against average.


This marks the fourth time in five years BSU is facing a team from the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The Bears lost the three previous games by a combined score of 51-5.


“It’s a tough draw from a very strong conference, but we’ll be OK,’’ said Drown.


The BSU tennis team went 14-0 and won the Little East Conference tourney last October to reach the NCAAs in the spring.


“The season has been incredible,’’ said first-year coach John Nestel, who played at Boston College. “The team really came together quickly and just got better and better as the season went on. It was fantastic.

 “I thought we’d have a pretty good team, but I didn’t think we’d run the table like that. The kids really listened and tried to implement new strategies.’’Senior Jenna Williamson was named the Little East player of the year for a third straight season.


The all-time leading scorer for the BSU women’s basketball team was 38-0 against conference opponents in her career.


“To play two sports is a lot of wear and tear, and to excel like she has is impressive,’’ said Nestel.


Senior Jackie McGuirk of Raynham was named the most outstanding player of the Little East tournament and has been a solid addition since transferring from North Carolina-Asheville.


“She’s been a real workhorse and rock solid at No. 2 singles,’’ said Nestel. “She brings great energy and attitude to practices and games.’’


Lauren Hopp and Rachael Eramo made the all-conference first team as No. 3 and 6 singles, respectively, while the doubles teams of Eramo and Alison Vautrin and McGuirk and Melissa Flynn were chosen to the first team.


Jim Fenton may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JFenton_ent.

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