WASHINGTON – The last three Cardinal field hockey seasons have been phenomenal for head coach Gia Cillizza and the program as a whole. The Cards concluded the 2013 campaign with the longest NCAA run with the program's first Elite Eight appearance, a final No. 17 NFHCA ranking, a No. 5 NCAA South Atlantic Regional ranking, their third consecutive Landmark Conference Title, five All-Landmark student-athletes, three All-Region NFHCA student-athletes, two All-Americans, and an overall record of 15-6.
The Regular Season…
Prior to the first Landmark Conference competition at the end of September, CUA boasted a 5-2 recorded with wins over No. 14 Rowan and No. 3 Salisbury and four shutout victories.
The Cardinals suffered a minor setback in the season with a three-game losing streak beginning with a 1-0 loss to No. 8 Mary Washington in Cardinal Stadium. The first Landmark Conference defeat of the season came from Drew, who defeated CUA 2-1 in overtime. No. 10 Christopher Newport conquered CUA 3-2 despite Catholic's 2-1 lead at the half.
The mighty red and black returned to the winner's circle with a six-game winning streak in October. CUA swept through the conference play defeating Moravian (4-1), Goucher (4-0), Susquehanna (3-0) and Juniata (2-1). The Birds also crushed non-conference opponents Randolph-Macon (4-0) and No. 15 Ursinus (2-1).
Road to the Title…
In their final regular season Landmark Conference contest of the season, Scranton shocked the No. 20 Cardinals with a 1-0 home upset. Nonetheless, CUA maintained its No. 2 seed thanks to upsets across the conference and hosted No. 3 Juniata. With the 1-0 semi-final win, CUA was set to face Scranton for the second time in one week in Cardinal Stadium. At the end 70 minutes, Catholic defeated Scranton 2-0 and clinched their third consecutive Landmark Title.
NCAA Regional Reign...
On the heels of their third consecutive Landmark Conference title, the Cardinals hosted their second NCAA first round Regional contest in three years welcoming No. 14 Messiah of the MAC to Cardinal Stadium.
With the score tied 1-1, and both teams looking to advantage of a single goal in overtime, Catholic was awarded a penalty corner placing Maura Campbell in perfect position to secure the win and advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Newport News, Va.
The second NCAA Regional win over No. 19 DePauw was like first round déjà vu. Two minutes into overtime, Catholic was awarded a penalty corner. Taylor Elliott, who tallied the assist, inserted the ball to Campbell who slapped the ball into the back of the goal securing the program's first Elite Eight appearance with a 1-0 victory.
With the win, Catholic would have a rematch against No. 4 Christopher Newport on their home field. Both teams remained scoreless for 62 minutes of play until CNU scored leaving the Cards at 1-0 deficit and ending their NCAA run.
For their efforts in leading the Cardinals to the program's first Elite Eight appearance, senior Megan Comunale and juniors Maura Campbell and Kim Hermann were named First Team Longstreth/NFHCA All-Region and All-Landmark this season. Sophomores Tarah Portland and Madalyn Dennis were named Second Team All-Landmark.
This year's honor marks Campbell's third straight All-Region honor and second on the First Team list. Hermann was a Second Team selection in 2011, while Comunale concludes her senior season with the first honor of her career.
Along with their regional honors, Campbell and Hermann boast First Team All-Landmark honors. Both student-athletes have been receiving this honor since their freshman year. Hermann led the Birds in points (32), goals (14) and tied for first in game winning goals (4) in 21 games. Campbell, who scored two consecutive game winning goals during the Cardinals' NCAA run, led the squad in assists (7), tied for second with points (17), second in shots (61) and tied for first in game winning goals (4).
Comunale was also a Landmark Conference selection and invited to the 2013 Front Rush/NFHCA Division III Senior Game on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Virginia Beach, Va., at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex at 4 p.m. The lone senior led the goalkeeper regime with 59 saves, 11 wins and a 0.86 save percentage in 1260 minutes of action.
Following the completion of the NCAA Championships, Synapse Sports named Comunale and Hermann to their All-American list, where Comunale was named First-Team and Hermann was named Second-Team. Comunale rounded out her career leading the country in goals against average.
Four members of the field hockey team were named Landmark Player of the Week:
- September 16: Kim Hermann (offense) | Megan Comunale (defense)
- September 23: Kim Hermann (offense) | Megan Comunale (defense)
- October 14: Maura Campbell (defense)
- October 28: Madalyn Dennis (defense)
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the Landmark Conference released the fall All-Sportsmanship Teams. One student-athlete from each institution for each sport is selected by their fellow teammates and coaches for embodying the true ideals of sportsmanship, and Allison Stevens represented field hockey.
Ten members of the Catholic field hockey squad were listed to the Landmark Fall Honor Roll, which recognizes all fall student athletes who have reached sophomore standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher.