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Liberty joins Miami, URI and UMass in Saturday's semifinals


Needing a win and a little help, Liberty managed to secure a spot in the semifinals after a 3-0 shutout of Adrian on Friday.

All but one spot in the Final Four had been determined in the women’s DI National Championship and Adrian held the keys despite both Liberty and Robert Morris (IL) pushing for a spot at the table.

Of all the different scenarios that could have played out regarding the fourth, and final spot in the semis, the most complicated occurred on Friday. A win by both Liberty and Robert Morris would not only eliminate Adrian but put the two teams into a tiebreaker with a four-step hierarchy that began with total goals allowed and was followed by goal differential.

By virtue of their 3-0 shutout to knock Adrian out of the tournament, Liberty locked in their spot in the semifinals despite a 6-4 victory by RMU.

Madison Fischer picked up the game winning goal at 5:01 of the second period for Liberty and Carrie Jickling added a pair of insurance markers in the third period to give the Flames the 3-0 win. Chantal Lischynski wasn’t heavily tested, making 16 saves for the shutout effort. But it was the goaltending tandem of Lischynski and Kristina Toppazzini who did the legwork that put Liberty through to the next round.

Only allowing five goals in pool play, Liberty pushed past RMU in the tiebreaker as the Eagles goals against totaled 11, giving the Flames the edge in the first tiebreaker.

RMU did what they needed to have a chance to advance, scoring six of the game’s first seven goals and powering past UMass 6-4. UMass made a push to comeback as Paige Harrington scored twice in the third period to cut the deficit to 6-3. But their fourth goal, scored off the stick of Meghan Crosby, came too late to continue the comeback attempt.

Six different goal scorers factored in for RMU with Lucia Plyer, Jordyn Tremain, Madi Biluk and Jessica Merritt each recording two points on the afternoon. Despite the win, RMU will be heading home. However, the elimination cannot be hung on the one thing that was out of their control, the performance of Liberty in the decisive third game.

Friday’s other two games were mere formalities as Michigan and Michigan State played for pride and the third spot in the Pool A standings with Rhode Island and Miami (OH) played to determine who would be the first seed and who would be the second seed to advance from Pool A.

Kaley Mooney wasted litte time drawing Miami even with URI after Cassie Catlow gave the Rams a 1-0 after 40 minutes. Mooney scored 58 seconds into the third period to tie the game and lock up Miami’s top spot in Pool A.

Both URI and Miami had allowed five goals in pool play, but Miami’s goal differential surpassed that of the Rams, giving the Redhawks the top seed entering Saturday’s semifinals.

Friday’s other contest pitted Michigan and MSU in a game between two teams that already had their fate sealed before the puck had dropped. However, the long running rivalry between the schools kept the contest interesting.

Shelby Myers scored with 15 seconds left in the middle frame to tie the contest at two and neither team would break the score until Ashleigh Miertl fired home the winning goal 16:26 into overtime.

Myers opened the game’s scoring with a goal late in the first period but the Wolverines pushed back with a pair of goals in the second. Jenna Trubiano’s goal with 1:17 remaining looked as if it would put Michigan ahead entering the final period, but Myers’ second of the game brought the teams to even terms and set up the drama in the extra frame.

Maria Barlow was phenomenal in net, turning aside 36 shots and holding the Spartans in the game as they battled back from their one-goal deficit.

The DII tournament determined their Final Four as Penn State, California (PA), North Dakota State and Iowa State all advanced on Friday.

Penn State and Iowa State won their respective polls while North Dakota State and Cal (PA) both move on to the semifinal round with Cal moving on thanks to a tiebreaker. Penn State and Cal will play in the first semifinal on Saturday with NDSU and ISU wrapping up the Final Four in the afternoon.

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