November 15, 2013

#7 Field Hockey Seeks 3rd Straight Final Four Berth, Faces Stonehill in NCAA 1st Round Sat.

WARRIORS, SKYHAWKS CLASH FOR FOURTH TIME IN 2013 SATURDAY IN NCAA FIRST ROUND

Links: Live Stats  

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – With its sights set on a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Final Four, the seventh-ranked and third-seeded Merrimack College field hockey team will make the short trip down to Easton, Mass., to battle second-seeded and fifth-ranked Stonehill College in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday (Nov. 16) afternoon at W.B. Mason Stadium. First whistle is set for 12 p.m.

The Basics
Date/Time:
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 | 12 p.m.
Records: #7 Merrimack (13-5)
| #5 Stonehill (18-3)
Location:
W.B. Mason Stadium | Easton, Mass.

Last Time Out/Last Time vs. Stonehill
Trailing by three goals late in the first half, Merrimack battled all the way back to within one on a late strike in the first and an early tally in the second, but Stonehill withstood the second-half surge from the hosts, as the Warriors fell, 3-2, to the Skyhawks in the Northeast-10 Championship Semifinals on Nov. 8 at Marotne-Mejail Field.

After falling behind by three goals thanks to the efforts of a pair of Emily's – NE-10 leading goal-scorer Emily Kelly (2 goals) and fellow Skyhawk Emily Sideris (1 goal, two assists) – Merrimack awoke late in the first half to pull within two thanks to a goal from sophomore Katrina Squeri (Chelmsford, Mass.) in the 32nd minute, as the Warriors entered the break trailing, 3-1.

But as slow as the home side started the game was as fast as they came out to start the second stanza, as the Warriors overwhelmed the visitors with a multitude of scoring chances early and often, culminating in back-to-back penalty corner opportunities within the first five minutes of the second half.

Finally, after a setup from sophomore Christine Zubkus (Dover, N.H.), senior Jessica Otis (Pittsford, N.Y.) blew one past Stonehill keeper Elizabeth Genovese on a drive from the top of the circle, bringing Merrimack to within a goal with plenty of time to go.

For the full recap from last Friday's NE-10 Semifinal, please click here.

Earlier This Season at Stonehill
In a back-and-forth, intense battle featuring a pair of Northeast-10 Conference powers, senior forward Jessica Otis scored the game's only goal in the 59th minute while sophomore goalkeeper Madison Davis turned away a career-high 11 shots, as Merrimack posted a huge, 1-0 road victory at third-ranked and previously unbeaten Stonehill on Oct. 29 at W.B. Mason Stadium.

Looking to stay alive in the race for the NE-10 regular season title and earn a first-round bye in next week's NE-10 Championships, Merrimack and Stonehill battled to find the back of the cage for nearly 60 minutes but had nothing to show on the scoreboard.

But then, in the 59th minute, after Davis came up with one of her huge saves on the other end, the Warrior offense drove down the length of the turf on a counter attack. Senior forward Candace Waldie threaded through the defense before feeding Otis, who promptly one-timed a shot past Stonehill netminder Elizabeth Genovese (8 saves) to put the Warriors on the board.

For the full recap from last Tuesday, please click here!

The NCAA Tournament At A Glance
The winner of Saturday's First Round match will advance to the Final Four in Virginia Beach, Va., where it will face top-seeded and No. 3-ranked LIU Post (20-0, 10-0 NE-10) on Friday, Nov. 22, at the USA Field Hockey Training Center at the Virginia Beach SportsPlex at 12:30 p.m.

The NE-10 regular season and tournament champion Pioneers earned a first round bye along with top-ranked Shippensburg University (18-1, 10-0 PSAC). The Raiders will face the winner of Saturday's South Regional first round matchup between second seeded and No. 2-ranked Millersville University (18-2, 8-2 PSAC) and third-seeded and fourth-ranked West Chester University (14-5, 8-2 PSAC) also at noon.

2013 NCAA Division II
Field Hockey Championship 

First Round
Saturday, November 16
#7 Merrimack (13-5, 9-1 NE-10) at #5 Stonehill (18-3, 8-2 NE-10), Noon
#4 West Chester (14-5, 8-2 PSAC) at #2 Millersville (18-2, 8-2 PSAC), Noon 

Semifinals
Friday, November 22

USA Field Hockey Training Center, Virginia Beach, Va.
Merrimack/Stonehill winner vs. #3 LIU Post (20-0, 10-0 NE-10), 12:30 p.m.
West Chester/Millersville winner vs. #1 Shippensburg (18-1, 10-0 PSAC), 3:30 p.m. 

National Championship
Sunday, November 24

L.R. Hill Sports Complex/Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.
Semifinals winners, 1:15 p.m.

The Warriors:

  • Had won seven straight games before falling to Stonehill in the NE-10 Semifinals
  • Boast an offense that ranks sixth nationally, scoring 3.44 goals per game, and a defense that comes in at seventh nationwide, allowing 1.64 goals per game
  • Otis and Waldie rank fifth nationally in assists per game (0.61), while the latter's 0.89 goals per game is the eighth-best mark in the country
  • Davis' 1.37 GAA is good for eighth in the country, while her .753 SV% ranks 11th

The Skyhawks:

  • Began the season 16-0 before suffering back-to-back losses to Merrimack and LIU Post at the end of the regular season to settle for the third seed in the NE-10 Championship
  • Advanced to the NE-10 Finals only to fall to LIU, 2-1, but earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the North Region
  • Are led by sophomore Erika Kelly, whose incredible season has seen her tally 76 points and a league-leading 37 goals with just two assists
  • Kelly is an astounding 50 points higher than the next-closest point scorer, Kelly Gouveia (26), who has notched 10 goals along with Lauren Giordano
  • Junior Elizabeth Genovese has started every game and has posted a respectable 1.70 GAA nad .757 SV% over 21 games

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