No. 6 field hockey to play Pace in NCAA Division II First Round tilt

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College field hockey team will make its third-straight appearance at the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championship, battling Pace in a First Round contest this Sunday, Nov. 25 at 12 p.m. in Pleasantville, N.Y.

Saint Anselm (15-6), ranked sixth in NCAA Division II by the National Field Hockey Coaches' Association, will travel and take on Pace (17-2), the fifth-ranked team in the nation, on Pace's campus at Peter X. Finnerty Field.

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The Hawks earned a spot in their second-ever Northeast-10 Conference Championship game, falling to Merrimack by a 2-1 score last Sunday with time expired in regulation. Prior to that defeat, Saint Anselm had won nine-straight games.

Pace was eliminated by Assumption in the NE10 Quarterfinals – the Greyhounds would later fall to the Hawks in the NE10 Semifinals, 3-2, at Grappone Stadium. Both of Pace's losses in 2018 have come at the hands of Assumption – the Setters sprinted out to the NE10 Regular Season Championship, dethroning the Hawks who had claimed back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

Tickets for Sunday's contest are $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for senior citizens (55+) and children 12 years of age or younger. Free video and live stats of Sunday's contest is available, courtesy of Pace Athletics.

SCOUTING SAINT ANSELM

  • The Hawks handed Southern New Hampshire a 4-2 loss in the NE10 Quarterfinals before Saint Anselm earned a narrow 3-2 victory over Assumption on Friday in the NE10 Semifinals. A goal by Merrimack with time expired in the NE10 Championship propelled the Warriors to a 2-1 win over the Hawks last Saturday.
  • Saint Anselm has recorded a combined overall record of 63-18 since the start of the 2015 season. The team has won 39 of a possible 44 games at home with only two of those losses coming during the regular season.
  • The Hawks are ranked third in the final NCAA Division II Field Hockey Rankings released on Nov. 18. Saint Anselm jumped into the NCAA Tournament picture with two-straight victories in the NE10 postseason, leapfrogging LIU Post who was handed a convincing 7-1 loss to Stonehill in the league quarterfinals.
  • Since the start of the 2016 season, the Hawks have only lost to unranked opponents on five total occasions. One of those losses was this season against LIU Post on Sept. 23.
  • Head Coach Carolyn King-Robitaille, in her seventh season at the helm of the program, is the league's reigning Coach of the Year and was the recipient of the prestigious National Coach Award, presented by USA Field Hockey, on Mar. 17, 2018.
  • Saint Anselm has yielded only 1.21 goals per game on average, the eighth-best figure in the nation. Sophomore Julia Hand (Reading, Mass.) is ninth nationally with a 1.32 goals-against average and ranks in the top-10 in the NE10 with a .728 save percentage.
  • Offensively, Saint Anselm is generating 7.71 points per game, the third-best single season in team history. The Hawks are averaging 2.90 goals per game to date, the second-best figure since the team's inception in 2001.
  • Senior Abby Walker (Scarborough, Maine), an All-Conference selection by the NE10 as a senior, is pacing the Saint Anselm offense with a career-high 11 goals and three assists for 25 points (11-3=25), the seventh-best offensive season in team history. Five of her 11 goals have been of the game-winning variety, tying a team record, and her 11 tallies are the third-most in a single season in program history. Her 42 career points (18-6=42) is the 10th-most all-time.
  • Junior Hannah Friend (North Easton, Mass.) has tallied a career-high nine assists in 2018. She ranks third all-time in Hawks team history with 70 points, having scored 26 goals (third-most all-time) and 18 assists (tied for second all-time) (26-18-70).
  • Freshman Carly LaCasse (Sagamore Beach, Mass.), a 2018 All-Rookie squad selection, ranks third on the Hawks in goal scoring (8) and fourth in total points (8-2=18) while sophomore Hannah Potter (Harwichport, Mass.) has had a strong season coming off the bench for Saint Anselm, scoring nine goals and an assist for 19 points (9-1=19) for 19 points in 21 total appearances with one start.
  • Senior Maddie Bressler (Franklin, Mass.) has two game-winning goals in 2018, scoring eight goals and an assist for 17 points (8-1=17). In her last six games, she has recorded four goals and an assist for nine points (4-1=9), sneaking on to the program's top-10 point scoring list with 43 career points (17-9=43), ranking ninth all-time.
  • Junior Michelle Lemelin (Chelsea, Maine) has three game-winning strikes to her credit in 2018. Her six goals and four assists for 16 points (6-4=16) is a career-high mark.
  • Senior Brooke Haskell (Winslow, Maine), a key cog on defense for the Hawks, holds the all-time program record with 82 career appearances entering play on Sunday.
  • The Hawks are ninth in NCAA Division II in goals per game (2.90), ninth in scoring average (2.84) and 10th in winning percentage (.714).
  • Junior Kaeleigh Lord (Keene, N.H.), an All-Conference pick for the first time in 2018, is 10th in NCAA Division II with four defensive saves to her credit.

SCOUTING PACE

  • Pace has lost only two of its 19 games played in 2018 with both defeats coming at the hands of Assumption, the first during the regular season and the most recent issued in the NE10 Quarterfinals.
  • Only in the program's fourth year of existence since its inception during the 2015 season, Pace is making it's first-ever NCAA Championship appearance.
  • The Setters are comfortable playing at home, recording a 9-1 record at Finnerty Field in 2018 and an 8-1 mark at home last season.
  • In her third season at the helm, Head Coach Kayte Kinsley, named NE10 Coach of the Year following the season, has recorded a 41-15 record during her time at Pace. She previously coached at Mercy, piloting the team in its first five seasons as a new intercollegiate program.
  • Pace leads the nation in winning percentage (0.895) while ranking second in goals-against average (0.83), seventh in shutouts per game (0.32), eighth in scoring margin (1.87) and ninth in penalty corners per game (8.89).
  • Freshman Grace Henderson, the backstop for the Setters, is the NCAA Division II leader in goals-against average (0.73). She earned NE10 Rookie of the Year for her strong efforts in goal.
  • Seniors Paige Predmore and Halley Rose picked up First Team All-NE10 honors – the former helped Pace in the midfield on defense while Rose is her team's leader in virtually every offensive statistic while ranking 13th nationally in goals per game (0.79) and 14th in points per game (1.84).
  • Senior Jane Kasparian and sophomore Mia Lennon earned NE10 Second Team merits with Katrina Mikitish drawing Third team recognition. Kasparian, a back, helped her team post its strong defensive numbers while playing over 1,000 minutes. Lennon started all 19 games for the Setters, scoring five goals and six assists for 16 points (5-6=16) while Mikitish had a pair of goals and three assists for seven points (2-3=7).

ALL-TIME, NCAA TOURNAMENT

  • The Hawks are making their third-straight appearance at the NCAA Championship. Saint Anselm has hosted its last two NCAA First Round appearances, earning a win over sixth-ranked Stonehill on Nov. 12, 2016 for its first-ever NCAA victory. The Hawks would go on to lose to LIU Post in overtime, 1-0, on Nov. 18, 2016.
  • Last season, the Hawks hosted Millersville and lost in penalty strokes, 1-0, on Nov. 11, 2017.
  • Pace has never made an NCAA Championship appearance and is still in search of its first-ever postseason victory, owning an 0-2 all-time record in the NE10 Tournament.

ALL-TIME vs. PACE

  • Saint Anselm is 3-1 in the all-time series against Pace, most recently falling to the Setters during the regular season by a 2-1 score.
  • In the narrow one-goal loss against Pace in the regular season, both teams played to a 0-0 deadlock at halftime. The Setters grabbed the game's first goal only 9:03 into the second half as Lieke van Nieuwenhuizen put home a pass from Rose. Almost immediately after a Hawks timeout just after the goal, Lemelin scored off of a pass from Lord, tying the game at one just over three minutes after the Setters first goal.
  • Pace captured the lead for good as Sarah Bard put one past the Hawks on a penalty corner with 9:38 to go in the second half. The Hawks had two of the game's final three shots down the stretch, including a Lord shot that was taken off the goal line by Predmore for the defensive save.
  • Saint Anselm was issued five of the game's nine penalty corners but the Setters owned the 8-to-5 edge in shots taken.