WASHINGTON – On the heels of their third consecutive Landmark Conference title, the Catholic field hockey team will host the first round of the 2013 NCAA Championship Tournament against the Falcons of Messiah.
In terms of rankings, Catholic moved up three spots to No. 17 in the NFHCA and No. 5 in the NCAA South Atlantic region. Messiah is ranked No. 14 in the NFHCA and No. 6 on the NCAA South Atlantic list.
Wednesday marks the third consecutive NCAA appearance for the Cardinals. In 2012 CUA lost 4-3 in the first round to Lynchburg, while the Cards moved out of the first round in 2011 on a 5-2 win over Eastern. Lynchburg snapped their run with a 2-0 loss in the second round that same year.
Road to the Title…
Catholic reached the NCAAs after defeating Scranton 2-0 at Cardinal Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 9 in front of 500 fans. Maura Campbell, who was named the Landmark Conference Championship Most Valuable Player, assisted on Ellen Thorburn's opening goal then extended the shutout to 2-0 on a penalty stroke.
Before Saturday's championship win, the Cardinals most notable victory was a 1-0 shutout of No. 3 Salisbury on Sept. 19. Catholic is 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The team also recorded wins over No. 14 rowan and no. 15 Ursinus.
Kim Hermann leads the Birds with 14 goals and four assists, as Rebecca Lukaszcyk and Taylor Elliot have each scored six goals. Hayley Wright (3g, 2a) Colleen Harwood (3g, 5a), and Maura Campbell (3g, 7a) are also offensive threats for Catholic.
Megan Comunale has been extremely effective in the cage with 17 starts and boasts impressive NCAA rankings. The senior ranked No.2 in goals against average at 0.66 and No. 11 with an 83% save percentage. Comunale has only allowed one goal in her last eight games.
Messiah scored three goals in the second-half at Elizabethtown to conquer the Blue Jays in the Commonwealth Championship. The win supplied the ground for the Falcons' seventh-straight conference title and put them into their 13th-straight NCAA Championships Tournament.
The Messiah roster consists of several impact student-athletes. Moriah Pfautz is ranked No. 8 in the NCAA with a 1.28 goals per game average and leads the Falcons with 23 goals and four assists. Brooke Sands and Celina Nissley have each scored 10 goals and collected three assists while Rachel Cox (7g, 6a), Caroline Wulf (5g, 6a), and Gina Kellett (4g, 5a) all have double-digit point totals. Becky Ely (3g, 3a), Jennie Kamel (2g, 4a), and Emily Bower (2g, 4a) have also been big contributors to the Falcons' No. 28-ranked 3.50 goals per game.
Wednesday's contest marks the Falcons' 28th NCAA Tournament appearance. In 2012, Messiah lost 2-0 to Lynchburg in the second round of play.