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Bulldogs look to complete perfect league season this weekend, celebrate Senior Day Sunday

Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography
Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University women's lacrosse team will look to wrap up its second perfect conference season in program history with a pair of games over the weekend, hosting Mount St. Mary's Friday at 4 p.m. and Wagner Sunday at 1 p.m.

The series between the Bulldogs (9-4, 5-0 Northeast Conference) and both the Mount (4-9, 3-2) and the Seahawks (5-10, 3-2) has been close throughout.

Against Mount St. Mary's, Bryant owns just a 4-3 edge but is 4-1 dating back to 2012. The Mount spoiled Bryant's chance at a perfect NEC slate in 2015, handing the Black and Gold a 9-8 overtime loss in the regular-season finale, but the Bulldogs won last season's meeting handily, 17-7.

And while Bryant owns a 7-4 lead over Wagner in the all-time series – the teams have faced off in the NEC Tournament in each of the last three years – it is the Seahawks who have the most recent win, topping the Bulldogs, 11-7, in Smithfield in the 2016 NEC Championship. The Bulldogs had won six straight against the Seahawks entering last year's title bout and are just 3-3 at home against Wagner.

Mount St. Mary's enters Friday's contest having won its last two league matchups to sit tied for third in the NEC standings. Sammie Knapp leads the team with 41 points and 30 goals, while Taylor Carhart has 19 tallies on the season. Carly Miller ties Knapp for the team lead in assists (11) and ranks second on the side with 25 points.

Off the draw, Jannell Daufenbach more than doubles her closest teammate with 56 draw controls, and goalie Jillian Petito paces the side with 39 ground balls. The sophomore enters the game with an 11.73 goals against average and .465 save percentage in 13 games started this season. Knapp's 13 caused turnovers also mark a team best.

Wagner also sits third in the league standings entering Friday action and is led offensively by 54-point scorer Heidi Colford. She paces the team with 27 assists, while Marjorie Dehm (33 goals), Lauren Ednie (32) and Anna Belle Reilly (31) are the team's top scorers.

Wagner has seen a pair of netminders in the crease in 2017, with Kelsey Fee seeing the most action in 14 appearances. Fee is 3-5 on the year with a 12.81 goals against average and .426 save percentage. Lucy Darlington has appeared in nine games with five starts, posting a 13.08 goals against average, .347 save percentage and 2-5 record. Amanda Rey leads the team in ground balls (48), draw controls (31) and caused turnovers (30).

The Bulldogs have been nearly unstoppable in league play under head coach Jill Batcheller. In her fifth season at the helm, she has led the Black and Gold to a 30-5 NEC mark, including a 24-2 clip since 2014. The Bulldogs posted a spotless conference mark in 2014 (7-0) and suffered just a single loss in 2015 and 2016. This is the third time under the three-time reigning NEC Coach of the Year that the Bulldogs have started the league slate at 5-0.

Behind the incredible play of junior goalie Samantha Santeramo (Wantagh, N.Y.), the Bulldogs are ranked fifth nationally in both scoring defense (8.31) and save percentage (.514). The only teams to allow fewer goals per game this season than the Bulldogs are No. 7 USC (6.94), No. 9 Colorado (7.06), No. 4 Stony Brook (7.27) and No. 8 Penn (7.79). Santeramo herself ranks fifth nationally in save percentage (.538) and goals against average (7.78).

Sunday's contest marks 2017 Senior Day, as the Bulldogs celebrate the careers of seven seniors: Olivia Brooks, Ali Cardinal, Emily Columbus, Carly Cronin, Dori Hellar, Molly Martin and Shannon Sullivan. The Class of 2017 has been a part of 51 wins and two Northeast Conference Championships entering Sunday's game.