Stonehill Visits #6 UMass Lowell for NE-10 First Round

Junior Devin Ingersoll leads the Skyhawks into postseason play with a team-high 12 goals this season. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Sixth-seeded Skyhawks and third-seeded River Hawks set to renew postseason rivalry on Wednesday night

EASTON, Mass. (October 23, 2012) – Sixth-seeded Stonehill College is making its 15th straight trip to the Northeast-10 Conference Field Hockey Tournament and will visit third-seeded University of Massachusetts Lowell, ranked sixth in this week's National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, for a first round clash on Wednesday night.

Admission for tomorrow night's matchup at Cushing Field is $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for senior citizens and children and $1.00 for students. The winner will advance to face second seeded and No. 9-ranked Bentley University (11-6, 8-2 NE-10) in Saturday's semifinal round, hosted by top-seeded and 4th-ranked Merrimack College (15-2, 9-1 NE-10), at 11 a.m. The Falcons and Warriors received first round byes as the top two seeds. Wednesday's other first round matchup features fifth-seeded Southern Connecticut State University (8-9, 5-5 NE-10) at fourth-seeded Adelphi University (7-11, 6-4 NE-10) at 4 p.m.

Stonehill (9-9, 5-5 NE-10), participating in the NE-10 Tournament for the 15th time in program history, seeks a fifth-straight trip to the NE-10 semifinals and tenth appearance overall on Wednesday. The Skyhawks have reached the finals four times, winning the championship in 2005. Stonehill clinched its postseason berth with a pair of 2-1 road wins at Saint Anselm College and Saint Michael's College to close out the regular season last week. The Skyhawks are tied for third in the NE-10 for scoring (9th nationally) with 2.7 goals per game, while ranking fifth with a 2.57 team goals against average and second with 11.6 penalty corners per game (3rd nationally).

Junior Devin Ingersoll (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) leads Stonehill with 25 points (8th NE-10) on a team-best 12 goals (6th) and an assist. She has scored a team-high four gamewinning goals this season (3rd). Senior Brittany Ford (Augusta, Maine/Cony) has added eight goals (12th) and four assists for 20 points (14th), while freshman Erika Kelly (Watertown, Mass./Watertown) has contributed eight goals (12th) and an assist for 17 points in her rookie season, carrying a three game scoring streak into tomorrow night's game.

Junior Kelsey Davis (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) leads Stonehill with six assists (11th NE-10) to go with four goals for 14 points, while senior Jessica Laurendeau (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) has chipped in five helpers. She also leads the Skyhawks defensive unit which is yielding 11.4 shots, including 7.1 on goal, and 7.6 corners per game.

Senior Jessica Laurendeau leads the defensive unit and is second on the team with five assists. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Senior Kaitlyn Curtis (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) and sophomore Elizabeth Genovese (Street, Md./North Harford) have essentially split the goaltending duties for Stonehill this season. Curtis has played 497-minutes over 11 games and posted a 2.68 goals against average (6th NE-10) and .500 save percentage while averaging 1.7 saves per game with a shutout. Genovese has played 783:25 over 13 games and recorded a 2.50 GAA (5th) and .674 save percentage with 4.5 saves per game and a shutout.

UMass Lowell (15-3, 8-2 NE-10), the two-time defending tournament champions, enters the postseason seeking an eighth title having won its last two games and five of six overall to close out the regular season. The River Hawks lead the NE-10 with a 0.82 team goals against average and 12.9 penalty corners per game, while ranking second in scoring with 3.9 goals per game.

Junior Rachel McCarthy (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) leads the NE-10 with 23 goals to go with six assists (11th) for 52 points (2nd), netting seven gamewinning goals (2nd) and converting all four penalty stroke attempts. Classmate Melissa Effertz (Oceanside, Calif./Rancho Buena Vista) has added 13 goals (5th) and nine assists (3rd) for 35 points (5th), while sophomore Bianca Jones (Watertown, Mass./Watertown) has posted 11 goals (8th) and three assists for 25 points (8th).

Senior Sarah Wilcox (Old Town, Maine/Old Town) has dished a Conference-best 13 assists to go with five goals, including two gamewinners, for 25 points. She also keys a UMass Lowell defense that is allowed 6.8 shots, including 4.1 on goal, and 5.1 corners per game.

Junior Melanie Hopkins (Harwich, Mass./Harwich) has played all but 122 minutes in the UMass Lowell cage this season. She has posted a Conference-low 0.85 goals against average and .781 save percentage (3rd NE-10) with 2.8 save per game and four shutouts (3rd).

UMass Lowell claimed a 2-1 victory over Stonehill in the lone regular season encounter between the two back on September 18 at W.B. Mason Stadium in Easton. McCarthy scored both River Hawk goals, while Hopkins preserved the win with seven saves. Genovese had a career-best 11 stops in the Skyhawks cage, while Davis scored a goal. All three goals were scored in the first half, with UML staking out a two goal lead.

Tomorrow night marks the ninth postseason meeting between these two programs, the sixth in NE-10 Tournament play. UMass Lowell holds a 7-1 advantage in the all-time postseason series between the two, including a 4-1 clip in NE-10 action. The River Hawks have won the last six postseason encounters, including a 3-1 triumph in last year's NE-10 semifinal held at Merrimack. Wilcox and Jones scored goals for UML who got markers from three different players, while Hopkins notched six saves. Curtis had a season-high nine stops in the Stonehill goal.

2012 Northeast-10 Conference
Field Hockey Championships

First Round
Wednesday, October 23 (at higher seeds)
#5 Southern Connecticut State (8-9, 5-5 NE-10) at #4 Adelphi (7-11, 6-4 NE-10), 4 p.m.
#6 Stonehill (9-9, 5-5 NE-10) at #3 UMass Lowell (15-3, 8-2 NE-10), 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 27
hosted by Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass.
Stonehill/UMass Lowell winner vs. #2 Bentley (11-6, 8-2 NE-10), 11 a.m.
SCSU/Adelphi winner at #1 Merrimack (15-2, 9-1 NE-10), 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 28
hosted by Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass.
Semifinal winners, Noon