#5 Stonehill Hosts #7 Merrimack with Final Four Bid on the Line

Sophomore Erika Kelly has scored a Division II best and NE-10 record 37 goals this season, including five of the Skyhawks six markers against Merrimack this season. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Second-seeded Skyhawks and third-seeded Merrimack meet for third time in as many weeks with trip to Virginia Beach in the balance

NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships Digital Program

EASTON, Mass. (November 15, 2013) – Second-seeded Stonehill College, ranked fifth in the final regular season Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, hosts third-seeded and 7th-ranked Merrimack College in first round action on the 2013 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium on Saturday at noon.

Admission to Saturday's NCAA Tournament matchup will be $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for students, senior citizens and children. The first 150 Stonehill students will be admitted free of charge when presenting their HillCard at the ticket window, courtesy of the Department of Student Affairs and Athletics Department. Live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.

The winner will punch its ticket to the National Semifinals in Virginia Beach, Va., where it will face top-seeded and No. 3-ranked LIU Post (20-0, 10-0 NE-10) on Friday, November 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 4th-ranked West Chester University (14-5, 8-2 PSAC) also at noon.

Stonehill (18-3, 8-2 NE-10) is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2010, marking the third bid in head coach Shelly Morris' six seasons at the helm. The Skyhawks also earned bids in 2005, 2006 and 2009 and can make a fourth trip to the National Semifinals with a win on Saturday. Stonehill, which enters Saturday's game a win shy of the single-season program record of 19 set in 2005, ranks second in the Northeast-10 in scoring with 3.8 goals per game (3rd nationally), while ranking fourth with a 1.68 team goals against average (9th) and third with 10.14 penalty corners per game (7th). The Skyhawks also rank sixth nationally for scoring margin (+43).

Junior Elizabeth Genovese has played an NE-10 high 1,1442 minutes this season. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Stonehill has been led by the record-breaking scoring of sophomore Erika Kelly (Watertown, Mass./Watertown), a unanimous first team All-Northeast-10 selection, who is leading Division II with her program and NE-10 record 37 goals which is currently three shy of the NCAA Division II record of 40 markers by Jamie Vanartsdalen from Bloomsburg (Pa.) University in 2008. Kelly has also dished out a pair of assists for a program-record 76 points, which ranks second nationally and in the NE-10 and is tied for the second-highest single-season total in Conference history. She leads the NE-10 with ten gamewinning goals and her six hat tricks are a program record.

While Kelly has gained much of the attention this season, her support cast cannot be overlooked. Senior Kelly Gouveia (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) has provided a spark with her ten goals (11th NE-10) and six assists for 26 points (11th), while sophomore Lauren Giordano (Watertown, Mass./Watertown), an NE-10 All-Rookie Team selection, has also contributed ten goals (11th) with three assists for 23 points. Junior All-American Emily Sideris (Watertown, Mass./Watertown), a second team All-Conference honoree, has posted 20 points on eight goals and four assists and has been especially hot of late with 15 points on five goals and five assists over Stonehill's last five games, earning a spot on the NE-10 All-Championship team. Sideris has recorded a goal in seven of their last ten games.

Senior All-American Devin Ingersoll (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry), a first team All-NE-10 selection for the second straight year, leads Stonehill with 11 assists (4th NE-10/12th nationally) to go with three goals, two gamewinners, for 17 points. Seniors Gina Sheehan (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury), the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Emily Coholan (South Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) and Chelsea Emery (New Hampton, N.H./Tilton School), an NE-10 All-Championship Team honoree, spearhead the Skyhawks defensive unit which has posted three shutouts this season.

Junior Elizabeth Genovese (Street, Md./North Harford) has played all but just under an hour in the Stonehill goal this season and has posted a 1.70 goals against average (5th NE-10/9th nationally) and .757 save percentage (7th/10th) with 5.2 saves per game (7th NE-10) and a shutout in a Conference-high 1,442:38 over 21 starts.

Senior back Chelsea Emery is coming off a strong performance in the NE-10 Tournament as part of the Skyhawks defensive unit. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Merrimack (13-5, 9-1 NE-10) is making its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and seeks a third-straight trip to the National Semifinals on Saturday. The Warriors, winners of seven of their last eight, edged out Stonehill for the No. 2 seed in the NE-10 Tournament on the last week of the regular season by handing the Skyhawks their first loss of the year at W.B. Mason Stadium. Merrimack ranks third in the NE-10 in scoring with 3.4 goals per game (7th nationally) and its 1.64 team goals against average (7th), while ranking fifth with 8.6 penalty corners per game.

Senior Candace Waldie (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) leads Merrimack with 43 points (4th NE-10/7th nationally) on a team-high 16 goals (5th/8th) and 11 assists (4th/5th), scoring four game-winning goals (6th NE-10). Classmate Jessica Otis (Pittsford, N.Y./East Rochester) has added 11 goals (9th) and 11 assists (4th/5th) for 31 points (6th/11th), while freshman Maura Doyle (Merrimac, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) has contributed nine goals and four assists for 22 points.

Sophomore Madison Davis (San Jose, Calif./Branham) has established herself as Merrimack's top goalkeeper, posting a 1.37 goals against average (3rd NE-10/7th nationally) and .753 save percentage (8th/11th) with 4.3 saves per game and four shutouts (2nd NE-10) in 1,071:54 (7th) over 15 games, posting a 12-3 record.

Saturday will mark the first NCAA Tournament encounter between the two programs, but the third postseason meeting and second in the last week. In fact, tomorrow will mark the fourth time these two have squared off this fall – the third in as many weeks. Stonehill has won two of the first three meetings between the two, but Merrimack won the lone encounter at W.B. Mason Stadium with its 1-0 decision on October 29. Stonehill has won each of the first two postseason matchups, both of which have come in the semifinal round of the NE-10 Tournament, including a 3-2 victory in the NE-10 semis last Friday behind a goal and two assists from Sideris.

Kelly has scored five of Stonehill's six goals in its three games against Merrimack this season, including a pair in last week's NE-10 semifinal. Genovese has played all 210 minutes over the three games and posted a 1.33 goals against average and .871 save percentage with nine saves per game against the Warriors. Otis has scored two goals for Merrimack against Stonehill, including the lone goal in its win over the Skyhawks, while freshman Nicole Bradley (Essex, Mass./Manchester Essex) has dished a pair of assists over the three games.

The National Championship game is scheduled for Sunday, November 24, at L.R. Hill Sports Complex on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., at 1:15 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

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 

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.