NCAA TOURNAMENT: #5 Saint Anselm Surges Past #6 Field Hockey, 3-1

Freedman made three of her five saves in the first half for the Skyhawks (PHOTO BY Jim Stankiewicz)

Hawks advance to national semifinals with three second half goals in NCAA Tournament debut

MANCHESTER, N.H. (November 12, 2016) – Second-seeded Saint Anselm College, ranked No. 5 in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, scored three unanswered goals in the second half to claim a 3-1 victory over third-seeded and No. 6-ranked Stonehill College in first round action of the 2016 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Tournament at Grappone Stadium this afternoon.

Saint Anselm (17-4, 10-2 NE-10) advances to the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships, being hosted by Stonehill College at W.B. Mason Stadium, where it will face top-seeded and No. 4-ranked LIU Post (15-3, 9-3 NE-10) in a national semifinal round matchup on Friday at 5 p.m. Stonehill sees its season come to a close with a 14-6 record overall, including 9-3 in the NE-10, having made its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance. Friday's opening national semifinal in Easton will feature No. 1-ranked Shippensburg University (18-3, 9-1 PSAC) against No. 2 Millersville University (17-4, 7-3 PSAC) at 2 p.m. The national championship game at W.B. Mason Stadium is Sunday at 1 p.m.

Saint Anselm, making its NCAA Tournament debut, got goals from three different players for the second straight game in posting a 3-1 win over Stonehill this season. Senior Katherine Sears (Northboro, Massachusetts/Algonquin) made four of her five saves in the second half to keep the Skyhawks off the scoreboard and fuel the comeback. Juniors Emma Kincaid (West Bridgewater, Massachusetts/West Bridgewater) and Leika Scott (Falmouth, Maine/Carrabassett Valley Academy) as well as freshman Michelle Lemelin (Chelsea, Maine/Erskine Academy) netted goals for the Hawks on the afternoon.

Gifford opened the scoring with her first goal of the year late in the second half (PHOTO BY Jim Stankiewicz)

Junior Hannah Gifford (Goffstown, New Hampshire/Goffstown) scored the lone Stonehill goal in her hometown, while sophomore Sara Freedman (Hopkinton, Massachusetts/Hopkinton) finished with five stops, including three in the first half. Saint Anselm posted a 14-8 advantage for shots in the contest, including 8-4 in the second half, while Stonehill had a 6-4 edge in penalty corners.

Gifford gave Stonehill the lead with 1:34 remaining in the first half when she collected a rebound steps inside the top of the circle after freshman Michaela Antonellis (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) had a shot blocked by a defender with Sears committed on the right side, and fired through the defense for her first goal of the season.

Saint Anselm equalized 4:41 into the second half as Kincaid tucked her third goal of the year at the far post off a pass from junior Mia Vecchione (Chelmsford, Massachusetts/Bishop Guertin). The Hawks took the lead with 12:50 remaining with Scott's first goal of the year from 12 yards out. Saint Anselm sealed the win with 4:27 left on the counter after Stonehill had a potential tying goal waived off at the other end as Lemelin pounced on a rebound and netted her fourth goal of the season.

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.