#5 Field Hockey Opens Postseason Play with NE-10 Championship Rematch Against Assumption

Smith leads Division II in scoring and goals heading into the NE-10 Tournament. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Third-seeded Skyhawks and sixth-seeded Greyhounds meet up in NE-10 Tournament for second straight year with Tuesday's first round clash

NE-10 Field Hockey Championship Seeding Announcement

NE-10 Field Hockey Championship Central

EASTON, Mass. (October 31, 2016) – Third-seeded Stonehill College, ranked fifth in this week's week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, opens defense of its back-to-back Northeast-10 Conference Tournament championships as it hosts sixth-seeded Assumption College in a 2015 NE-10 Championship game rematch in first round action of the 2016 NE-10 Tournament at Timothy J. Coughlin '80 Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium on Tuesday night at 7 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 first 150 Stonehill students will be admitted free of charge courtesy of the Spirit Committee. The game will be streamed live via stonehillskyhawks.tv, with live stats available via stonehillskyhawks.com.

Stonehill (13-4, 9-3 NE-10), participating in its NE-10 record matching 19th NE-10 Tournament, is the two-time defending champions of the event after posting a "walk-off" 2-1 win over Assumption (10-7, 7-5 NE-10) in last year's title game in Worcester, Massachusetts, when eventual NFHCA Division II Player of the Year Erika Kelly '16 scored the winning goal off a penalty corner after time had expired. Kelly had both Stonehill goals in the win, while current junior Allison Sheahan (Higganum, Connecticut/Haddam-Killingworth) scored the Greyhounds lone goal.

Stonehill has reached the NE-10 championship game three straight years in all, having won the tournament crown in 2005, 2014 and 2015, with finals appearances also in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013. Assumption is making its ninth appearance in the NE-10 Tournament, with 2015 marking its fifth runner-up finish as the Greyhounds still seek their first postseason championship. Last year marked the Greyhounds first appearance in the championship game since 2002 when they had reached four of the first seven title games in the NE-10's history.

Freedman leads the NE-10 with seven shutouts this season - two shy of the program's single-season record (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

The winner of Tuesday night's first round clash will advance to Friday's NE-10 semifinal round and visit No. 2-seeded and No. 6-ranked LIU Post (13-3, 9-3 NE-10), which received a first round bye along with top-seeded and NE-10 regular season champions Saint Anselm College (15-3, 10-2 NE-10), at 1 p.m. The Hawks await the winner of Tuesday's other first round matchup between 5th-seeded Merrimack College (8-7, 8-4 NE-10) and 4th-seeded and No. 8 Adelphi University (13-5, 9-3 NE-10) being played on Long Island at 4 p.m. The NE-10 Championship will be played on Sunday, November 6, hosted by the highest remaining seed at 1 p.m., and webcast live at northeast10.tv.

Stonehill enters postseason play winners of four of its last five after closing out the regular season with a 3-2 win at Pace University on Saturday. The Skyhawks are ranked second in the NE-10 and fifth nationally in Division II with 2.8 goals per game, while ranking fifth in the league (11th nationally) with a 1.41 team goals against average and sixth with 7.4 penalty corners per game (20th).

Sophomore Kacie Smith (Norwood, Massachusetts/Norwood) leads Division II in scoring with 47 points and goals scored with 21, having scored a team-high six game-winning goals (2nd NE-10), and dished five assists (6th NE-10) in 17 games for Stonehill. Her 21 goals rank fourth on the program's all-time single-season list, while her 47 points rank fifth and her gamewinning goals fourth. Smith has started 36 of the 38 games she has played in her two seasons at Stonehill, totaling 35 goals and 12 assists for 82 points, already ranking seventh in program history for career points and sixth for career goals.

Junior Alexandria Sylvia (Brockton, Massachusetts/Brockton) and sophomore Carly Andersen (Cheshire, Connecticut/Canterbury School) are tied for second on the team in scoring with 17 points apiece (13th NE-10), with Sylvia dishing out a team-high seven assists (2nd NE-10/10th nationally) to go with five goals and Andersen ranking second on the team with eight goals (10th NE-10) and an assist. Senior captain Shea Healy (Greenfield, Massachusetts/Pioneer Valley) has contributed six goals and four assists for 16 points, chipping in three game-winners.

Sophomore Sara Freedman (Hopkinton, Massachusetts/Hopkinton) has been the backbone of the Stonehill defense all season, playing all 1,194:56 of the Skyhawks minutes in goal and posting a 1.41 goals against average (5th NE-10/12th nationally) and .822 save percentage (2nd/7th) with an NE-10 high seven shutouts and 6.5 saves per game (3rd/9th). Her NE-10 leading seven shutouts are two shy of the program's single-season record.

Morse was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 NE-10 Championship and leads the Skyhawks defensive unit. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Senior All-American and co-captain Sarah Morse (Westminster, Massachusetts/Oakmont Regional), who was named the Most Outstanding Player at last year's championship, spearheads Stonehill's defensive line in front of Freedman, along with junior Alexandra Dillon (Canton, Massachusetts/Canton) and sophomore MacKenzie Greenberg (Mendon, Massachusetts/Hopedale).

Assumption enters the NE-10 Tournament winners of five of seven after a 3-1 victory at Bentley University on Saturday. The Greyhounds are ranked fourth in the NE-10 with a 1.39 team goals against average (12th nationally) and 2.5 goals per game (8th), averaging 6.7 penalty corners per game.

Sheahan leads Assumption in scoring with 22 points and nine goals, to go with four assists, having scored three gamewinning goals. Junior Belle Ives (Topsfield, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) is second on the team with 18 points and eight goals, with two assists, while freshman Kristin McCarthy (Danvers, Massachusetts/Danvers) has dished out a team-high five assists, with six goals for 17 points.

Sophomore Sarah Bodzinski (Southwick, Massachusetts/Southwick Tolland Regional) has seen the majority of minutes in goal for Assumption, posting a 1.26 goals against average (3rd NE-10/9th nationally) and .796 save percentage (6th NE-10) with five shutouts (2nd) in 1,107:38 over 16 games played.

Tuesday marks the 32nd meeting all-time between these two programs, the fourth in postseason play and third in the NE-10 Tournament. Stonehill holds a 21-10 advantage in the all-time series which dates back to 1996, but Assumption is 2-1 against the Skyhawks in postseason play, despite the setback in last year's NE-10 Championship. Stonehill claimed a 3-2 overtime victory against the Greyhounds in Worcester in the regular season matchup on October 1, giving the Skyhawks 20 wins over the last 22 encounters between the two.

Freshman Justine Timmermans (Huizen, The Netherlands) netted her first collegiate goal 4:56 into overtime to lift Stonehill after Assumption had battled back from two goals down to force extra time. Smith and junior Alexandra Gerew (Harrisville, Rhode Island/Pomfret School) also tallied goals for Stonehill, while Freedman posted 12 saves in the Skyhawks goal. Assumption got goals from Sheahan and McCarthy as they erased a two goal deficit with a pair of markers three minutes apart in the second half, while Bodzinski finished with 11 saves in goal.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market. Stonehill will serve as host of the 2016 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championship at W.B. Mason Stadium, November 18-20. 

2016 Northeast-10 Conference
Field Hockey Championships

First Round
Tuesday, November 1 (at higher seeds)

#5 Merrimack (8-7, 8-4 NE-10) at #4 Adelphi (13-5, 9-3 NE-10), 4 p.m.
#6 Assumption (10-7, 7-5 NE-10) at #3 Stonehill (13-4, 9-3 NE-10), 7 p.m.

Friday, November 4 (at higher seeds)

Merrimack/Adelphi winner at #1 Saint Anselm (15-3, 10-2 NE-10), 4 p.m.
Assumption/Stonehill winner at #2 LIU Post (13-3, 9-3 NE-10), 1 p.m. 

Sunday, November 6 (at higher seed)

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.