Top-seeded Stonehill College, ranked fifth in the final regular season Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, makes its fourth appearance in the NCAA Division II national semifinals when it squares off against second-seeded and No. 4-ranked LIU Post for the third time this season as part of the NCAA Division II Fall Championships Festival, hosted by Bellarmine University and the Louisville Sports Commission.
Admission for Thursday's game is $15 for adults and $5 for youths and students from member institutions, and will be played at Trager Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville. All session passes are available for $30 for adults and $15 for youths and students from member institutions. A free live video webcast and live stats will be available via www.ncaa.com with links also through www.stonehillskyhawks.com. Stonehill College will be hosting a free fan viewing back on campus in Easton, Massachusetts, at The Hill in Roche Dining Commons.
Stonehill (17-3, 9-2 NE-10) and LIU Post (17-3, 10-1 NE-10) will meet in the second national semifinal of the afternoon on Thursday at 4 p.m. Top-ranked West Chester (Pa.) University (18-2, 13-1 PSAC) and No. 2-ranked Millersville (Pa.) University (18-3, 12-2 PSAC) will square off in the opening semifinal at Trager Stadium at 1 p.m. The two semifinal winners will compete for the Division II National Championship at Trager Stadium on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Stonehill, which captured its second Northeast-10 Conference tournament championship a week and a half ago, is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and sixth overall with its fourth appearance in the national semifinals after earning a first round bye as the North Region's top seed. It marks the fourth bid in head coach Shelly Morris' seven seasons at the helm. The Skyhawks also earned bids in 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013, reaching the national semifinals in 2005, 2009 and 2010 prior to this season. Thursday will mark Stonehill's first NCAA semifinal against an opponent other than UMass Lowell, which reclassified to Division I in 2013, with the River Hawks defeating the Skyhawks each time, including a 5-1 setback at Louisville's Trager Stadium at the 2010 Fall Festival.
Stonehill enters the NCAA Tournament winners of four straight and nine of ten after its NE-10 Championship win over LIU Post on November 22. The Skyhawks rank second in the NE-10 for scoring (3rd nationally) with 3.5 goals per game, while ranking fourth with a 1.64 team goals against average (9th) and third with 10.5 penalty corners per game (7th). The Skyhawks have the second-best winning percentage in NCAA Division II and also rank fourth nationally for scoring margin (+1.8 goals per game).
Stonehill is led by a pair of first team All-Northeast-10 selections who have earned All-America status over their careers in senior Emily Sideris and junior Erika Kelly. Kelly, the all-time leading scorer in program history with 151 points and a school-record 71 career goals, leads Stonehill with 25 goals and five assists for 55 points this fall, ranking second in the NE-10 and nationally in Division II for goals and points. She has netted a team-high five game winning goals, which ranks fourth in the NE-10. Sideris has posted six goals and three assists for 15 points for the Skyhawks in 16 games, including a goal and assist for three points in two postseason games so far.
While Kelly has scored over a third of Stonehill's goals this season, the Skyhawks have ten goal-scorers this season overall, including a pair with double-figure goals to date. Junior Lauren Giordano, an All-NE-10 second team selection this fall, has contributed 11 goals (10th NE-10), including four game winners (5th), and four assists for 26 points (10th), while freshman Alexandria Sylvia, an NE-10 All-Rookie Team honoree, has chipped in ten goals (11th) and an assist for 21 points (16th) in her first collegiate season. Sophomore Sarah Morse, who earned a spot on the NE-10 All-Championship team, leads the Skyhawks with 12 assists (3rd) to go with two goals for 16 points, ranking sixth national for assists per game. Junior Elizabeth Thornton rounds out the Skyhawks All-Northeast-10 picks from this season, having earned second team honors, with seven goals and an assist for 15 points.
Senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Genovese, the NE-10 Championship's Most Outstanding Player, enters the NCAA Tournament having yielded just two goals over the last four games (0.497 GAA). She has played all but 65:42 in the Stonehill cage this fall and registered a 1.56 goals against average (3rd) and .773 save percentage (7th) with 5.10 saves per game and Conference-high five shutouts in 1,344:13 (2nd) over 20 starts. She is aided by a strong back line of senior Emily Coholan, a two-time NE-10 Defensive Player of the Week who was also named to the NE-10 All-Championship Team, junior Maggie Travers and Morse.
LIU Post is making its second-straight appearance in an NCAA national semifinal after posting a 3-1 victory over third-seeded and No. 7-ranked Adelphi University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on November 25. Senior Stephanie Ruhle paced the Pioneers past Adelphi with a pair of goals, while freshman Kaycee Zelkovsky added a goal and assist.
LIU Post, which reached the national championship game in 2013 before being edged by Shippensburg (Pa.) University, 2-1 in overtime, are in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history overall. The Pioneers are winners of ten of their last 11 games dating back to a 3-2 setback to Stonehill on October 17 and lead the Conference in scoring (4.2 goals/gm), team goals against average (1.04) and penalty corners (11.3/gm), having posted seven shutouts this fall.
LIU Post boasts the top scorer in the country in junior Keliann Margiotta who has totaled 82 points and 33 goals to go with 16 assists (2nd NE-10), netting eight game winning goals. Senior Lyn-Marie Wilson has added 12 goals (7th) and 11 assists (4th) for 35 points (7th), while Zelkovsky has posted 11 goals (10th) and five assists for 27 points (10th) this fall.
Sophomore Ericka Parks has seen the majority of minutes in goal for LIU Post and leads the NE-10 with a 0.94 goals against average to go with a .727 save percentage, 2.4 saves per game and five shutouts in 1122:52 over 17 games played with a 15-2 record in the cage. Postgrad Dani Crouse, the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year, leads the defensive unit and has also contributed nine goals, including four game winners, and seven assists (6th) for 25 points (11th) this season.
Stonehill has won each of the first two meetings between the two programs this season, posting a 3-2 triumph in the regular season encounter at W.B. Mason Stadium in Easton on October 17, before claiming the 1-0 win in the NE-10 Championship. Sideris scored the lone goal of the NE-10 Championship, while Genovese posted seven second half saves to make the goal stand and notch the shutout win. Three different players scored goals for the Skyhawks in the regular season matchup, with Giordano netting the game winner and Sylvia and senior Jennifer Foley also collecting goals. Ruhle scored both goals for the Pioneers.
While Thursday will mark the first NCAA Tournament meeting between the two NE-10 rivals, it will be the third postseason encounter – the first two coming in the NE-10 Championship over the last two years. Stonehill holds a 9-4 record against LIU Post in the all-time series, while the teams have split the postseason encounters.
The Division II National Championships Festival will feature national championships in men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. Bellarmine University and the Louisville Sports Commission will serve as co-hosts for the event. The Division II national championships festivals are the only place in the NCAA where six champions will be crowned in a single event, in one city on one day. The Festival provides an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate the achievements of more than 1,100 DII student-athletes. Stonehill field hockey also reached the Fall Festival in Louisville in 2010 and will be again joined this year by the Skyhawks men's and women's cross country programs who will compete in the NCAA Championship meet on Saturday, December 6, at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
2014 NCAA Division II
Field Hockey Championship
Thursday, December 4
Trager Stadium, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.
|#2 Millersville (18-3, 12-2 PSAC) vs. #1 West Chester (18-2, 13-1 PSAC), 1 p.m.
#4 LIU Post (17-3, 10-1 NE-10) vs. #5 Stonehill (17-3, 9-2 NE-10), 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 6
Trager Stadium, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.
Semifinals winners, 1:30 p.m.