NCAA TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL: #1 UMass Lowell Fires Past #5 Stonehill, 5-1

Senior Lindsey Pinkham scored her third postseason goal to provide the lone score of the day for the SKyhawks (PHOTO BY Timothy D. Sofranko)

River Hawks halt Skyhawks season in semifinal round for second-straight year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 2, 2010) – Top-ranked University of Massachusetts Lowell will play for its second national championship in program history after topping fifth-ranked Stonehill College in semifinal round action of the 2010 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championship at Trager Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville this afternoon.

UMass Lowell (23-0, 10-0 NE-10) awaits the winner of today's second semifinal between third-ranked and four-time defending national champions Bloomsburg University (18-2) and second-ranked Shippensburg University (20-1) in Saturday's national championship match here at Trager Stadium at 1:30 p.m. Stonehill sees its season come to a close with a 16-7 record overall, 9-1 in Northeast-10 play, having earned its second-straight NCAA Tournament bid and fourth overall and reaching the semifinals for the second-straight year as well.

Senior Katie Enaire (Amesbury, Mass./Amesbury) played in a role in all but one of UMass Lowell's five goals on the afternoon, finishing with two goals and two assists to key the victory. Senior Liz Day (North Andover, Mass./North Andover), junior Kayla Littig (Carver, Mass./Carver) and sophomore Sarah Wilcox (Old Town, Maine/Old Town) all scored goals for the River Hawks, while freshman Rachel McCarthy (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) chipped in with two assists.

Senior Lindsey Pinkham (Skowhegan, Maine/Skowhegan Area) scored the lone goal for Stonehill in the contest, with classmate Courtney Foley (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield Memorial) collecting the assist.

Freshman Melanie Hopkins (Harwich, Mass./Harwich) preserved the win with three saves, two second half, UMass Lowell finished with a 17-5 advantage in shots for the match and an 11-5 edge in penalty corners. Senior Courtney Osier (South Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) finished with six stops for Stonehill.

Enaire opened the scoring when she knocked in a pass from McCarthy 10:23 into the contest. She then set up Wilcox for her second goal of the year with a pass from the top of the arc off a penalty corner to the right side of the cage at 21:10. Enaire added a second before halftime to give the River Hawks a three goal lead when she redirected a pass from the upper right corner of the arc by McCarthy past Osier for her 30th goal of the year overall and seventh this season against Stonehill at 31:56.

Junior Kathryn Nelson found little space to create in today's matchup. 

"I was disappointed with the way we came out, I thought we sat back a little bit and didn't play our game with a lot of confidence," said Stonehill head coach Shelly Morris. "They got up a couple goals and when that happens mentally you get defeated."

Day gave UMass Lowell a four goal lead 11:08 into the second half with an unassisted goal from the upper right corner of the arc for her 13th marker of the year. Enaire then set up Littig's second goal of the year at 51:16 to round out the River Hawks scoring.

Pinkham prevented the shutout with her ninth goal of the season, her team-leading third of the postseason, when she redirected a drive from the top of the arc by Foley off a corner at 63:13.

Coach Morris Postgame Interview

"I'm proud of the way the team fought to the end," said Morris. "I think we had a great second half and fought really hard. We started to really pressure them, which we didn't do in the first half and it hurt us. When we did we made things happen, and in the second half we had a lot of pressure on them that they didn't know how to handle."

UMass Lowell accounted for each of Stonehill's last four losses this season, a stretch in which the Skyhawks finished 15-4 after a 1-3 start. This afternoon marked the final games in the careers of six seniors: Pinkham, Foley, Osier, Michaela Deasy (North Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth), Lauren Gifford (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown) and Laura Noce (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury).

"I have six great seniors, they are obviously great leaders who leave some big shoes to fill personality wise, on the field and they brought us here," said Morris. "They brought us here because they took what they learned last year and carried themselves and this team. These are the kids who are shaping this program and I hope our juniors, sophomores and freshmen can respond to that. I am really proud of them the way they didn't pack it in today and fought to the end."