W&J Field Hockey To Face William Smith In NCAA Tournament
WASHINGTON, Pa. – The NCAA released its 2011 Division III Field Hockey national championship selections Sunday evening and Washington and Jefferson College will take on William Smith College Wednesday (4:00 pm) in the opening round at McCooey Field in Geneva, N.Y.
The Presidents (14-4) earned the Empire 8 Conference’s automatic bid Sunday after defeating Nazareth in the championship match by a 2-1 margin. The conference championship was the first in school history.
William Smith (15-4), the nation’s 13th-ranked team, was awarded an at-large bid into the field of 24 teams. The Herons lost to fifth-ranked Skidmore 2-1 in the Liberty League championship match Saturday. William Smith owns a 10-2 record at home this season.
W&J and William Smith have four common opponents on their schedules this season, three of which are Empire 8 teams. The Herons posted a perfect 4-0 record against Nazareth (3-1, Sept. 3), Elmira (7-0, Sept. 7), Ithaca (Sept. 14) and SUNY-Geneseo (5-1, Sept. 28). The Presidents hold a 3-2 record against those same opponents (1-1 NAZ, 1-0 IC, 1-0 EC, 0-1 GEN).
On offense, W&J is led by juniors Jennifer Marabella (Sinking Spring, Pa./Holy Name) and Erin Barno (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff), who have combined for 28 goals. Marabella (15 goals), W&J’s all-time leading goal scorer (48), ranked 25th on the NCAA Division III active career goal scoring list heading into this week’s action. Barno leads the Presidents with 35 points (13g, 9a) and scored the game-winning goal in the Empire 8 title match.
The Presidents’ defense is anchored by junior defender Meghan Thornlow (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson), the Empire 8 Conference Tournament’s Most Valuable Player. W&J has held opponents to 27 goals in 18 matches.
The Herons are paced by Taylor Cappello’s 15 goals. Kiersten Hamilton has added nine goals, including four game winners. William Smith’s goalies, Taryn Little and Catherine Hare, have combined to record a 1.03 goals-against average.
Ticket prices have been set at $5.00 for general admission and $3.00 for students, senior citizens, military personnel, and children 3-12.
William Smith will also provide live video and live stats for the match. Those links are available on the W&J athletics website (http://www.washjeff.edu/athletics).
The winner of Wednesday’s game plays at The College of New Jersey Saturday (time TBA). TCNJ, located in Ewing, N.J., is the No. 4 team in the latest NFHCA Top 25 poll.
Washington and Jefferson and William Smith have never played in field hockey, but the schools met in the opening round of the 2005 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament. The game, also played in Geneva, N.Y., was won by the Herons, 68-54.