W&J Visits Stevens In Empire 8 Tournament Semifinals
WASHINGTON, Pa. – The Washington & Jefferson College field hockey team will travel to Hoboken, N.J., on Saturday to take on the top-seeded Stevens Institute of Technology in the Empire 8 Conference Tournament semifinals.
The Presidents (11-7, 4-3) clinched the No. 4 seed in the tournament on Saturday after defeating Elmira 5-2. Senior Erin Barno (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff) recorded a career-best three goals, while classmate Jennifer Marabella (Sinking Spring, Pa./Holy Name) added a pair of scores.
W&J is the defending Empire 8 Tournament champion and is making its sixth-straight appearance in the tournament under the guidance of Head Coach Jomara Coghlan. The Presidents have faced Stevens in four of the previous five tournaments. The Ducks downed W&J 1-0 in the 2007 semifinals and then defeated W&J in three-straight championship matches from 2008-10. Overall, the Presidents own a 5-4 record in Empire 8 Tournament matches.
Stevens has dominated the all-time series against W&J as it has claimed 9-of-11 meetings, most recently a 4-2 victory in Washington on Oct. 20. The Presidents are 1-5 when facing the Ducks in New Jersey, with the lone victory coming by a 1-0 count in 2006. Barno has enjoyed success against Stevens during her career with two goals and one assist, while Marabella has netted a pair of goals in six matches.
Marabella and Barno were the Presidents’ top scorers during the regular season. Marabella tied for third in the conference with 13 goals and was sixth with 27 points, while Barno ranked just behind her in seventh with 25 points (10g, 5a). Marabella enters the tournament having scored at least one goal in five of W&J’s previous six matches.
W&J boasted six of the top-22 scorers and the top scoring offense in the Empire 8 Conference during the regular season. In addition to Marabella and Barno, senior Arielle King (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) collected seven goals and seven assists, while sophomore Catherine Beaudoin (Barkhamsted, Conn./North Western Regional) has contributed seven goals and five assists. Junior defender Tori Patrick (State College, Pa./State College) added 16 points (5g, 6a) and senior Amanda Pflumm (Shoreham, N.Y./Shoreham Wading River) tallied 14 (4g, 6a). Patrick has been a top scoring threat on penalty corners, as all five of her goals this fall have come off set plays.
Defensively, the Presidents paced the league with a 1.64 goals against average. Senior Meaghan Thornlow (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson), the 2011 Empire 8 Tournament Most Valuable Player, is the leader of the W&J defense, having collected five defensive saves during 65 matches in her career. Patrick and sophomore Aria DeSimini (Fredericksburg, Va./Courtland) are both experienced defenders, as both started all 18 matches this fall.
W&J’s freshman goalkeepers have split time in net for most of the season. Kira Bunker (Magnolia, Del./Polytech) recorded seven victories and three shutouts in 12 matches, while Morgan Brozena (Telford, Pa./Souderton) tallied four wins and a pair of shutouts during nine matches. Bunker ranks 26th in NCAA Division III with a 1.75 goals against average and has made 38 saves, while Brozena has added 31 stops.
Stevens (12-6, 7-0) enters the tournament with a perfect mark in league play and having won five of its last six matches. Four of the Ducks’ six losses this fall have come against ranked opponents.
Stevens owns the second-ranked scoring offense in the Empire 8 with a 3.0 scoring average. Marguerite Chavez leads the Ducks in scoring with 13 goals and six assists for 32 points, while Mary Nikish is 19th nationally with 13 assists. As a team, Stevens averages 13.7 penalty corners per game, the eighth-highest total in the nation.
Kaitlin McClymont made 108 saves and posted a 2.23 goals against average while starting all 18 games in net. The Ducks have not allowed more than two goals during any of their last six matches.
Dailyn Brook posted a pair of goals to lead Stevens to a 4-2 victory during the teams’ match in Washington on October 20. After Brook opened the scoring, Marabella evened the game at 1-1 midway through the first half. The Ducks took control by scoring the next three goals, including two in a two-minute span during the second half. Chavez recorded a goal and two assists during the game, while Beaudoin tallied a goal for W&J to provide the final margin.
Saturday’s match will be played at the De Baun Athletic Complex beginning at 11:30 am. The other semifinal match features No. 2 seed Utica facing No. 3 seed St. John Fisher at 2:30 pm. The championship match will be played at either 1:00 or 2:30 pm on Sunday on Stevens’ campus. Please check the Empire 8 web site for any announcements to possible changes to the tournament schedule or host site sue to the impact of Hurricane Sandy.