Field Hockey Set To Host NESCAC Championship Weekend

November 1, 2012

Top seeded Middlebury will look to add a second conference crown to its trophy case when it hosts the 2012 NESCAC Field Hockey Championship this weekend at Peter Kohn Field. The undefeated Panthers will kick off the weekend against fifth seeded Amherst on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The second game of the doubleheader will feature second seeded Tufts and third seeded Bowdoin. Advancing teams will square off for the NESCAC championship on Sunday at noon. At stake in an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Perhaps looking to make a statement, Middlebury broke the NESCAC Championship record for goals in a game in a 7-0 win over Connecticut College on Saturday. At the center of the action was senior Lauren Greer (North Hampton, N.H.), who poured in a tournament-record four goals in the contest. Her first came just 55 seconds in and proved to the fastest opening goal in the tournament’s 13-year history. Greer’s eight points were also a new record.

Middlebury (15-0, 10-0 NESCAC) will enter the semifinals with a perfect 15-0 record. The Panthers also went undefeated in league play in back-to-back seasons from 2003 to 2004. In 2003, they topped Williams 1-0 to secure their lone conference championship. This season, Middlebury has outscored its opponents 87-9 and has not given up a goal since September 29 at Wesleyan.

One year after earning NESCAC Player of the Year honors, Greer has once again been dominant for the Panthers. Her 31 goals and 75 points are good for tops in the nation, and she has also chipped in with 13 assists. Seven of her tallies have gone down as winners. Greer scored her 100th career goal at Williams last Wednesday. The Panthers have also received solid production from sophomore midfielder Catherine Fowler (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), who leads the NESCAC with 15 assists. Defensively, senior goalkeeper Madeline Brooks (Clayton, Mo.) enters the tournament as the league leader in goals against average (0.46) and save percentage (.867).

Amherst (11-4, 6-4 NESCAC) will be enter the contest riding a four game winning streak after advancing with a dramatic 3-2 double overtime victory over fifth seeded Trinity in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. Junior forward Krista Zsitvay (New Vernon, N.J.) scored two goals in the contest, including the winner with just over eight minutes remaining in extra time. She leads the Lord Jeffs with 11 goals this year. Fellow forwards Katie McMahon (Denville, N.J.) and Madeline Tank (Winnetka, Ill.) have also scored 11 times, while sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Tannanbaum (Berwyn, Pa.) has posted a save percentage of .841 after earning NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors last fall.

Middlebury and Amherst have split four previous meetings in the NESCAC Championship. The Panthers prevailed 2-1 in overtime during last year’s semifinals before knocking the Lord Jeffs out of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 win the following weekend. They came out on top 3-1 when the two teams met on September 23.

Saturday’s second game will pit second seeded Tufts against third seeded Bowdoin.

Tufts (14-1, 9-1 NESCAC) has rattled off 14 straight wins after opening the season with a 5-2 loss to Middlebury. The Jumbos punched their ticket to the final four with a 2-0 victory over seventh seeded Wesleyan on Saturday. Forwards Chelsea Yogerst (San Diego, Calif.) and Kelsey Perkins (Barrington, R.I.) scored goals in the game, while sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Keenan (Greenland, N.H.) posted her fourth shutout of the year. In 14 games, Keenan has allowed just 10 goals. Meanwhile, Yogerst and Perkins have combined for 18 goals. Tufts took home the NESCAC title in 2009.

Defending champion Bowdoin (13-2, 8-2 NESCAC) will be looking to avenge a 3-1 loss at Tufts on the final day of the regular season. The Polar  Bears have been dominant in the postseason, claiming NESCAC titles in each of the last two seasons and six of the last seven. Their record of 22-5 in the championship leads the league.

Bowdoin rebounded nicely in the quarterfinal round, topping sixth seeded Williams 3-0 behind two goals from forward Rachel Kennedy (Trumbull, Conn.). The first year has made an immediate impact on the program with 11 goals thus far this season. Junior forward Katie Riley (Hingham, Mass.) has piled up 29 points on 12 goals and 11 assists to set the tone for the Polar Bears. Seniors Brooke Phinney (Dedham, Mass.) and Cathleen Smith (Larchmont, N.Y.) have added 11 tallies apiece. Meanwhile, classmate Kayla Lessard (Enfield, Conn.) has recorded a goals against average of 0.65.

The Polar Bears have been perfect in four previous meetings against Tufts in the NESCAC Championship. They earned semifinal wins in both 2000 and 2003 before topping the Jumbos in the finals in 2008 and 2010.

Results for the NESCAC Field Hockey Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.

Saturday, October 27 at Higher Seeds
Quarterfinal Games
#1 Middlebury def. #8 Connecticut College, 7-0
#2 Tufts def. #7 Wesleyan, 2-0
#3 Bowdoin def. #6 Williams, 3-0
#5 Amherst def. #4 Trinity, 3-2 (2OT)

Saturday, November 3 at Middlebury
Semifinal Games
#5 Amherst at #1 Middlebury - 11:00 a.m.
#3 Bowdoin vs. #2 Tufts - 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 4 at Middlebury
Championship – 12:00 p.m.

--courtesy NESCAC--