#10 Field Hockey Seeks Third Straight NE-10 Championship Trip

Senior co-captain Maggie Travers and the Skyhawks defense will look for another strong performance on Friday. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Fourth-seeded Skyhawks set for semifinal battle at top-seeded and #4 Adelphi

EASTON, Mass. (November 5, 2015) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked tenth in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, travels to top-seeded and 4th-ranked Adelphi University looking to advance to the Northeast-10 Conference Championship for the third straight year in semifinal round play of the NE-10 Tournament at Motamed Field on Friday at 4 p.m.

Admission is $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for senior citizens and children and $1.00 for students of participating institutions with a valid ID. The game will be broadcast live via aupanthers.tv. Links to the webcast as well as live stats are also available via stonehillskyhawks.com.

Stonehill (12-6, 9-3 NE-10) advanced to the semifinal round with a 2-1 victory over fifth-seeded and No. 9-ranked Saint Anselm College in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday night. Senior All-American Erika Kelly (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) and freshman Kacie Smith (Norwood, Massachusetts/Norwood) provided the scoring punch for Stonehill, while freshman Sara Freedman (Hopkinton, Massachusetts/Hopkinton) made four second half saves to make them stand. Kelly scored the deciding goal with a penalty stroke in the 45th minute, while Smith scored the opener just 2:23 into the game before Saint Anselm equalized in the first half.

Stonehill, participating in its 18th NE-10 Tournament, aims to defend its 2014 NE-10 Championship, having reached the championship match each of the last two seasons. The Skyhawks, which captured the tournament crown last fall with a 1-0 triumph at then top-seeded LIU Post, also won the NE-10 Tournament in 2005 and have also reached the championship match in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013. Adelphi (14-4, 10-2 NE-10) earned a first round bye in the NE-10 Tournament as the top seed and regular season co-champions in the Conference. The Panthers are in the NE-10 Tournament for the fifth time since joining the league in 2009, seeking their first trip to the championship game with this their fourth semifinal appearance. The winner of tomorrow's semifinal advances to Sunday's NE-10 Championship against the winner of tomorrow night's other semifinal between second-seeded Assumption College (13-5, 10-2 NE-10) and third-seeded Merrimack College (14-4, 9-3 NE-10) being played in Worcester, Massachusetts, at 7 p.m.

Senior All-American Erika Kelly and the Skyhawks are focused on a return trip to the NE-10 Championship. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Stonehill enters Friday's semifinal winners of five of its last six after Tuesday night's first round win over Saint Anselm. The Skyhawks boast the top offense in Division II with 3.6 goals per game, while ranking eighth in the NE-10 with a 2.11 team goals against average. Stonehill is also averaging 7.4 penalty corners per contest.

Kelly, voted the NE-10 Player of the Year this week, is a huge part of Stonehill's offensive success as she leads all of NCAA Division II in scoring with 56 points as well as 23 goals, while ranking second with her ten assists. She has notched at least a point in all 18 games this season and 19 in a row dating back to 2014. Kelly made Northeast-10 history last week as her 94 career goals broke the Conference record of 91 by UMass Lowell's Sammy Macy (2007-10) and now rank second in Division II history and she is one of just five student-athletes in Division II history with over 200 career points, now ranking third all-time (2nd NE-10) with 208 points in 78 career games played. Kelly's 20 career assists ranks sixth in program history.

Smith, a second team All-NE-10 and NE-10 All-Rookie Team selection, has made an immediate impact for Stonehill in her freshman campaign, ranking second on the team with 13 goals and seven assists for 33 points, while junior Sarah Morse (Westminster, Massachusetts/Oakmont Regional), named to the All-NE-10 first team, shares the team lead with ten assists (2nd Division II) to go with four goals for 18 points. Morse shares the team lead with three game winning goals with senior Lauren Giordano (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) who has posted eight goals for 16 points this fall.

Freedman, an NE-10 All-Rookie Team selection, has seen the majority of time in the Stonehill goal this season. She has posted a 2.11 goals against average and .723 save percentage with 4.8 saves per game in 1,027:49 over 17 games. Seniors Lauren Dymek (Hadley, Massachusetts/Hopkins Academy) and Maggie Travers (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) spearhead the defense in front of Freedman for Stonehill, having both posted two defensive saves.

Freshman Kacie Smith played a role in both Stonehill goals in Tuesday's first round win over Saint Anselm. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Adelphi ranks second in the NE-10 (3rd nationally) in scoring behind Stonehill with 3.2 goals per game, while leading the NE-10 (4th nationally) with a 1.06 team goals against average, having posted seven shutouts and averaging 8.9 penalty corners per game. Junior back Rachel Colvin (Vernon, New Jersey/Vernon Township), the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year, spearheads the top defense in the Conference, while chipping in five goals and an assist for 11 points.

Sophomore Amanda Gargiulo (Westbury, New York/W.T. Clarke) has played the majority of time in the Adelphi goal, posting a league-low 0.96 goals against average with a .792 save percentage and 3.4 saves per game with five shutouts in 1,147:57 over 18 games.

Senior Molly Cuevas (San Jose, California/Leland), an All-Northeast-10 first team selection, leads Division II with 13 assists to go with a team-high 13 goals for 39 points this season. Junior Lena Pollich (Massapequa, New York/Massapequa) has added 11 goals and seven assists for 29 points, including four gamewinning goals, while senior Kristen Bagley (Holbrook, New York/Sachem East) has contributed ten goals and three assists for 23 points, also netting four game winners.

Tomorrow marks the 11th meeting all-time between these two programs, the third in the NE-10 Tournament. Stonehill holds an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series which dates back to 2009, winning both previous NE-10 Tournament encounters, including a 3-1 triumph in the semifinal round in Easton, Massachusetts, last season behind a pair of goals from Kelly. Stonehill cruised to a 3-0 victory in the lone regular season meeting between the two back on September 23, in Easton. Kelly had a hand in all three Skyhawk goals with two goals and an assist, while Morse chipped in with a marker and Freedman notched her first collegiate shutout with a four save effort. Gargiulo posted seven stops in the Panthers cage.

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2015 Northeast-10 Conference
Field Hockey Championships

First Round
Tuesday, November 3 (at higher seeds)

#3 Merrimack 4, #6 Bentley 0
#4 Stonehill 2, #5 Saint Anselm 1 

Friday, November 6 (at higher seeds)

#4 Stonehill (12-6, 9-3 NE-10) at #1 Adelphi (14-4, 10-2 NE-10), 4 p.m.
#3 Merrimack (14-4, 9-3 NE-10) at #2 Assumption (13-5, 10-2 NE-10), 7 p.m. 

Sunday, November 8 (at highest remaining seed)

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.