D-II Women's Rewind: Recapping Lindenwood's Road to a Title


The 2021 NCAA Division II women’s lacrosse season is in the books, and truth be told, there were many who didn’t believe we’d be able to play all the way through to championship weekend.

While the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic certainly influenced the season, fortunately, all the necessary games were played and a champion was crowned on the field.

For the first time in the 20-year history of the NCAA Division II championship, a team from outside the Eastern Time Zone walked away with the trophy. As Lindenwood (Mo.) continues to celebrate its first national championship, let’s take one more look back at the national semifinals and final, played in Salem, Virginia.

Best Game
Lindenwood 14, Queens 12

After leading 12-5 at halftime, Lindenwood scored the first two goals of the second half to extend its lead and threaten to push the championship game into running-clock mode with most of the second half still to play. But that’s when things got interesting.

A goalie change by Queens served as the spark it needed, and the furious comeback was underway. Back-up goalie Madi Bednarik registered a career-high nine saves in 34 minutes of relief duty to shut the door on the Lions and allow the Royals to claw back over the final 20 minutes. Queens scored the game’s final seven goals, and when Kara Blanchard netted her fourth of the half and fifth of the game with 1:19 remaining, the deficit had been reduced to just two. The Royals had two more possessions in the final minute but could not get a shot on goal.

“We just kept chipping away and gave it everything we had,” Queens coach Clare Short said. “We were not going to go out without a bang.”

Best Individual Performance
Ally Blood

Giving the nod here to super senior and USA Lacrosse Magazine All-American Ally Blood for her performance in Queens’ 17-14 national semifinal victory over East Stroudsburg.  Blood registered eight points on four goals and four assists to lead the Royals to their first championship game appearance. She finished third in the nation with 50 assists in 2021. The irony is that Blood had zero points in Sunday’s final, serving as an offensive decoy for much of the afternoon as a result of being faceguarded by LU’s Alyssa Kneedler.

Breakthrough Player
Emily Mitarotonda

While those who watched this freshman midfielder all season were certainly not surprised, she shined on the big stage with a career-high six goals in the national semifinal against Queens. Mitarotonda scored three of East Stroudsburg's first four goals in a high-scoring and entertaining, nip-and-tuck first half that featured seven ties and three lead changes.

In 16 games this season, Mitarotonda finished tied for the team-lead in goals (48) scored and ranked second on her team with 60 points. Her 48 goals and 60 points rank second all-time among first-year players in ESU’s program history.

Numbers of note


Free position goals, on seven attempts, scored by Lindenwood in the first half of the national championship game while building a 12-5 halftime lead.


School record for wins in a season by Roberts Wesleyan, which made program history by advancing to the national semifinals in its first NCAA tournament appearance.


Draw controls this season by Lindenwood’s All-American Lexy Biller, establishing a new single-season team record. Biller recorded a game-high eight DCs in the championship against Queens, in addition to four goals and three ground balls, and was named the championship’s Most Outstanding Player.


Career victories for Jack Cribbin in 10 NCAA seasons as the head coach at Lindenwood. He started with the program in 2006 and won 100 games while the Lions operated as a club team.

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