KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Schedule | Men's Bracket | Women's Bracket) For the first time in association history, the NAIA hosts the Men's and Women's Lacrosse National Invitational May 4 – 7 at Sirrine Stadium in Greenville, S.C. There are eight men's programs and eight women's programs that will compete in a single-elimination tournaments for a shot at the title. The 2016 event is hosted in conjunction with VisitGreenvilleSC.
Automatic qualification was given to the three conference tournament champions and the highest rated Independent team in the final edition of the NAIA Men's Lacrosse Coaches' Top 10 Poll or NAIA Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Top 10 Poll – both announced on April 24. Four additional at-large teams were determined using the polls.
Men's and women's lacrosse are currently in year one of a two-year process towards becoming an NAIA National Championship sport. Specific benchmarks developed by the NAIA's National Administrative Council, which consists of NAIA member athletic directors, conference commissioners, athletic trainers and sports information directors, have been established to help transition the sport. If all criteria are met, men's and women's lacrosse will be a national championship sport in 2018.
The NAIA Network – the association's official video streaming home – will broadcast all 14 matches live at the 2016 NAIA Men's and Women's Lacrosse National Invitational. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single-day passes can be purchased for $4.95, while an all-invitational package is available for $9.95. For more information and to pre-register, click HERE.
For more information on NAIA men's and women's lacrosse, click her
2016 Women's National Invitational
The opening match of the 2016 invitational features No. 3 Lawrence Tech (Mich.) against No. 6 Columbia (S.C.) Wednesday at 10 a.m. EDT. Winners of Wednesday's contests receive an off day before semifinal action begins Friday morning.
SCAD Savannah (Ga.) enters the invitational as the favorite to claim the inaugural title. The top-ranked and top-seeded Bees received one of the four automatic berths by virtue of being the highest ranked Independent team. SCAD Savannah posted an 11-1 regular-season record with its only blemish coming at NCAA Division II Wingate (N.C.), 17-15, on March 23.
Shannon Flaherty is a key player to watch for SCAD Savannah. A starter in every game this season, the sophomore midfield ended the regular-season with a team-high 26 goals, 22 assists, 53 ground balls, 53 draw controls and 28 caused turnovers. Flaherty has recorded at least four points in nine regular-season contests, including a season-high seven points in the Bees' season opener against Pikeville (Ky.) (three goals and four assists) on Feb. 20 and again against Lawrence Tech (Mich.) (two goals and five assists) on March 4.
SCAD Savannah opens invitational play Wednesday at 4 p.m. when it faces off against No. 8 Benedictine (Kan.).
First Round Schedule (all times EDT)
Game 1 – No. 3 Lawrence Tech (Mich.) (12-6) vs. No. 6 Columbia (S.C.) (16-4), 10 a.m.
Game 2 – No. 2 Georgetown (Ky.) (11-2) vs. No. 7 Tennessee Wesleyan (12-4), 1 p.m.
Game 3 – No. 1 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) (11-1) vs. No. 8 Benedictine (Kan.) (9-4), 4 p.m.
Game 4 – No. 4 Davenport (Mich.) (11-3) vs. No. 5 Indiana Tech (12-4), 7 p.m.