#6 Stonehill Continues Title Defense at #5 LIU Post

Smith, the NE-10 Player of the Year, scored her Division II leading 22nd goal of the season to lift Stonehill to its 1-0 win over Assumption on Tuesday. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Third-seeded Skyhawks visit second-seeded Pioneers for NE-10 semifinal Friday

NE-10 Field Hockey Championship Central

NE-10 Field Hockey Game Program: Stonehill vs. LIU Post

EASTON, Mass. (November 3, 2016) – Third-seeded Stonehill College, ranked sixth in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, continues defense of its back-to-back Northeast-10 Conference Tournament championships when it visits second-seeded and No. 5-ranked LIU Post in semifinal round action of the 2016 NE-10 Tournament at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium on Friday at 1 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. Live stats for the game will be available via stonehillskyhawks.com.

Stonehill (14-4, 9-3 NE-10), participating in its NE-10 record matching 19th NE-10 Tournament, advanced to the semifinal round with a 1-0 victory over sixth-seeded Assumption College in the first round on Tuesday night. Sophomore Kacie Smith (Norwood, Massachusetts/Norwood), who was crowned the NE-10 Player of the Year on Wednesday, netted the lone goal of the contest in the first half, while classmate Sara Freedman (Hopkinton, Massachusetts/Hopkinton) was called on to make just one second half save to preserve the win and her eighth shutout of the season. LIU Post (13-3, 9-3 NE-10), making its third NE-10 Tournament appearance since joining the NE-10 in 2013 after a one year absence, received a first round bye as a result of its regular season win over top-seeded Saint Anselm College after finishing in a three-way tie in the Conference standings with Stonehill and Adelphi.

The winner of tomorrow's semifinal will advance to the NE-10 Championship game on Sunday, November 6, to be hosted by the highest remaining seed at 1 p.m. The game will be webcast live at northeast10.tv. Top-seeded and No. 3-ranked Saint Anselm College (15-3, 10-2 NE-10), the NE-10 regular season champions, will host fifth-seeded Merrimack College (9-7, 8-4 NE-10) in the other semifinal on Friday in Manchester, New Hampshire, at 4 p.m.

Stonehill will be seeking to reach the NE-10 Championship game for the fourth straight year on Friday and continue defense of its two straight tournament championships. The Skyhawks have won the tournament three times in program history with titles in 2005, 2014 and 2015, with finals appearances also in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013. LIU Post has reached the NE-10 Championship game in each of its first two NE-10 Tournament appearances in 2013 and 2014, winning the championship with a 2-1 win over Stonehill in 2013, before the Skyhawks returned the favor a year later with a 1-0 triumph.

Healy, a first team All-NE-10 selection, has ten points over the Skyhawks last five games. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Friday will mark the fourth postseason encounter between the two programs all-time, the third in the NE-10 Tournament – all of which have been played in Brookville, New York. The Pioneers have won two of the three previous postseason meetings, including a 3-2 triumph in the NCAA Division II National Semifinals in 2014 to go with the NE-10 Championship game split.

LIU Post handed Stonehill a 3-0 defeat at W.B. Mason Stadium in their regular season encounter on September 24. Sophomore forward Emily Miller (Bridgewater, New Jersey/Bridgewater-Raritan) had a role in all three LIU Post goals in the win as she totaled two goals and an assist, while senior goalkeeper Ericka Parks (Nesconset, New York/Smithtown East) made seven second half saves to hold Stonehill off the scoreboard for the first time since last year's NCAA Division II National Semifinal against Merrimack. Freedman finished with six saves in the Stonehill cage, including five in the second half. LIU Post held a 12-11 edge in shots, including 10-9 in the second half after both sides had just two shots in the opening 35-minutes.

Stonehill enters postseason play winners of five of its last six after Tuesday's first round win over Assumption. The Skyhawks are ranked second in the NE-10 and sixth nationally in Division II with 2.7 goals per game, while ranking fourth in the league (10th nationally) with a 1.33 team goals against average and seventh with 7.4 penalty corners per game.

Smith, a two-time All-Northeast-10 selection with her first team honors this season, leads Division II in scoring with 49 points and goals scored with 22, having scored a Conference-high seven game-winning goals, and dished five assists (6th NE-10) in 18 games for Stonehill. Her 22 goals rank fourth on the program's all-time single-season list, while her 49 points rank fifth and her gamewinning goals fourth. Smith has started 37 of the 39 games she has played in her two seasons at Stonehill, totaling 36 goals and 12 assists for 84 points, already ranking seventh in program history for career points and sixth for career goals.

Senior co-captain Shea Healy (Greenfield, Massachusetts/Pioneer Valley), a first team All-Northeast-10 selection this season, is among three Stonehill student-athletes tied for second on the team in scoring with 17 points (13th NE-10). She has totaled six goals and five assists (6th) this season, having totaled ten points (4 goals, 2 assists) over the last five games. Junior Alexandria Sylvia (Brockton, Massachusetts/Brockton) and sophomore Carly Andersen (Cheshire, Connecticut/Canterbury School) join Healy with 17 points, with Sylvia dishing out a team-high seven assists (2nd NE-10/6th nationally) to go with five goals and Andersen ranking second on the team with eight goals (10th NE-10) and an assist.

Freedman notched her eighth shutout of the year on Tuesday night and is a second team All-NE-10 selection. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Freedman, a second team All-NE-10 selection, has been the backbone of the Stonehill defense all season, playing all 1,264:56 of the Skyhawks minutes in goal and posting a 1.33 goals against average (4th NE-10/12th nationally) and .824 save percentage (2nd/6th) with an NE-10 high eight shutouts, which is just one shy of the program's single-season record, and 6.2 saves per game (3rd/11th).

Senior All-American and co-captain Sarah Morse (Westminster, Massachusetts/Oakmont Regional), an All-Northeast-10 first team selection for the second straight year 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).

LIU Post enters the postseason winners of five straight after a mid-year bump in the road in which it dropped three in a row. The Pioneers lead the NE-10 and rank fifth nationally with a 0.98 team goals against average, while ranking third in scoring at 2.6 goals per game (7th nationally) and third with 9.3 penalty corners per game (12th).

Miller leads a group of three All-Northeast-10 selections which will lead LIU Post on Friday. The first team All-NE-10 honoree leads the Pioneers with 36 points (2nd NE-10/4th nationally) and 16 goals (2nd) with four assists, sharing the league lead along with Smith with her seven game-winning goals. Senior Steph Mocerino (Andover, New Jersey/Newton), one of two second team All-NE-10 selections, leads the team with six assists (5th NE-10), adding five goals for 16 points, while junior Alyssa Lopresti (Lindenhurst, New York/Lindenhurst) has totaled seven goals and three assists for 17 points.

Freshman Arantxa Rosainz Caloca (Guadalajara, Mexico) rounds out LIU Posts All-Conference selection with third team honors, as well as a spot on the NE-10's All-Rookie Team. She has chipped in with five goals and two assists for 12 points, while leading the Pioneers' defensive unit, which is tops in the league. Parks has played all but 41:16 in the LIU Post goal this season, posting a Northeast-10 low 0.95 goals against average (5th nationally) and .758 save percentage (11th NE-10) with four shutouts and 2.9 saves per game in 16 starts.      

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 1, #4 Adelphi 0
#3 Stonehill 1, #6 Assumption 0

Friday, November 4 (at higher seeds)

#3 Stonehill (14-4, 9-3 NE-10) at #2 LIU Post (13-3, 9-3 NE-10), 1 p.m.
#5 Merrimack (9-7, 8-4 NE-10) at #1 Saint Anselm (15-3, 10-2 NE-10), 4 p.m.

Sunday, November 6 (at higher seed)

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.