GAME NOTES: No. 16 Field Hockey Battles No. 5 Duke In NCAA First Round (Nov. 16)

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The Matchup
    The 16th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team begins its quest for the 2013 NCAA title with a first round game at fifth-ranked Duke University at Jack Katz Stadium on Nov. 16 (11:30 a.m.).
    UNH has a 1-3 lifetime record against Duke and that includes 1-2 on the road. Saturday will mark the first postseason meeting between the Wildcats and Blue Devils.
    These programs last met Sept. 27, 2009, when the Blue Devils were 7-1 victors on their home field. Duke also won in September 2004 (11-0) and September 2003 (4-2 at UNH). The Wildcats won the inaugural meeting, 1-0, at Duke on September 15, 1990.

Wildcats Receive 13 Awards at America East Banquet
    A total of nine University of New Hampshire field hockey student-athletes, led by Defensive Player of the Year Megan Bozek and Goalkeeper of the Year Carlie Tarbell, were honored at the America East annual banquet that was held Nov. 6 at Huddleston Hall on the UNH campus. In addition, the Wildcats, led by 23rd-year head coach Robin Balducci, were named Coaching Staff of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.
    Bozek, who repeated as Defensive Player of the Year, and Tarbell were joined on the America East All-Conference First Team by senior back Casey Pohlmeyer and sophomore forward Meg Flatley to give the Wildcats the highest number of representatives on the squad.
    UNH also had the highest total (tied with Albany) on the All-Conference Second Team, again with four members – senior forward Hannah Richard, senior midfielder Melyssa Woods, junior back Maegan Grew and junior midfielder Kellie Joyce.
    New Hampshire also placed freshman midfielder Aggie Sutherland on the All-Rookie Team. Pohlmeyer was recognized a second time with her selection to the All-Academic Team.

The State of New Hampshire
    UNH has a 15-6 overall record that includes 5-2 on the road, 2-2 at neutral sites and 5-0 in America East. The Wildcats won the America East Championship tournament for the second time in three years.
    New Hampshire won the America East regular-season title for the fourth consecutive year (2010-11-12-13) and also advanced to the tournament championship game for the fourth straight season, ninth time overall. The 'Cats won the tourney in 1998, 2011 and 2013 and finished as runner-up in 1992, 1994, 2000, 2008, 2010, 2012.
    UNH enters the NCAAs with an eight-game win streak and 14 wins the last 16 games. The Wildcats recorded five consecutive shutouts spanning Oct. 18 to Nov. 1. They also blanked Fairfield University in the America East semifinal for six shutouts in a seven-game span.
    New Hampshire has outscored the opposition 31-3 during the eight-game win streak. The 'Cats scored at least one goal 12 straight halves before playing to a scoreless first half in last Thursday's semifinal against Fairfield. UNH has scored in 15 of 16 halves in the streak.
    UNH has used the same starting lineup all 21 games.

Top 'Cats
    The UNH Wildcats were the America East regular-season titlist and conference tournament top seed – and tourney host – for the fourth consecutive year.
    Since the start of the 2010 season, the 'Cats have a 19-1 record in America East regular-season games. They just completed a second consecutive perfect conference record and also went 5-0 in 2010.
    UNH has won a total of six America East regular-season titles. In addition to 2010-11-12-13, the 'Cats shared the '02 crown and won the 2000 title outright.
    Including postseason play, UNH is 25-3, including 16-2 at home, against America East teams spanning the 2010-11-12-13 seasons. That includes three perfect regular seasons, two tourney runner-up finishes (2010, 2012) and tournament title (2011).
    Dating back to the start of the 2010 season, the only league team to defeat UNH is Albany. The Wildcats have a 5-3 record vs. the Great Danes in that span (including two tourney losses) and are 16-0 against the other four current America East teams – 5-0 vs. Maine, including the 2010 semifinal; 6-0 vs. Fairfield, including the 2013 semi; 4-0 vs. Vermont and 1-0 against UMass Lowell. [Note: UNH also went 4-0 against Boston University spanning the 2010-11-12 seasons.]

Selection Sunday
    New Hampshire received automatic qualification into the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship by virtue of winning the America East Championship tournament. After the six lowest automatic-qualification teams were determined to play for three play-in berths, UNH was one of the remaining five automatic qualification teams placed in the bracket.

How We Got Here
    New Hampshire secured both a share of the America East regular-season crown and the tournament top seed with a 7-0 victory at the University of Vermont on Oct. 27. The Wildcats won the title outright with a 4-0 win at home against Fairfield (Nov. 1) to complete the conference schedule unbeaten (5-0) for the third time in four years.
    UNH then advanced out of the America East Championship semifinals with another 4-0 win against Fairfield (Nov. 7). Emma Compagna recorded career highs in both goals (two) and points (four) while Chandler Giese tallied a personal-best three points (1g, 1a). Carlie Tarbell made three saves, as did Fairfield's Caitlin Bennett.
    Following a scoreless first half (in which the 'Cats recorded a 9-1 shot advantage and 5-0 edge in penalty corners), the Wildcats struck twice in a 3:32 span early in the second half to quickly build a 2-0 lead. Giese scored at 42:52 when her hit deflected off a defender's stick and over Bennett into the cage. Giese then set up the next goal at 46:24 on a penalty corner, as her diagonal hit from the top-left side was redirected into the goal by Compagna.
    UNH extended the lead to 3-0 at 53:20 when Compagna, on the right side, one-timed Kellie Joyce's entry pass into the cage. The 'Cats capitalized on another corner to close the scoring at 63:01. Casey Pohlmeyer's initial direct shot ricocheted off the left post but Meg Flatley corralled the ball and scored into the open left side for her team-leading 16th goal of the season.
    In the America East title game vs. (then) No. 16 University at Albany, UNH struck twice in the opening 10 minutes and never allowed the Great Danes to pull even. Hannah Richard gave the 'Cats a 1-0 lead at 4:43 and Megan Bozek converted a penalty stroke into a goal at 9:15. UA pulled within 2-1 at 39:04, but Richard responded with a goal 26 seconds later to reestablish a two-goal advantage. Albany pulled its goalie in favor of an extra field player with 4:27 remaining and capitalized on a corner to close within 3-2 at 67:05. The visitors were awarded another corner with 90 seconds remaining but this time UNH's defense blocked the shot. UA advanced the ball into the circle with less than 20 seconds on the clock, but was whistled for a foul and the waning seconds elapsed.

And then...
    Saturday's first round winners advance to play in the second round Sunday, Nov. 17 (2 p.m.) at Jack Katz Stadium. That winner moves on to the national semifinals Nov. 22 at Old Dominion's L.R. Hill Complex.

Bozek, Pohlmeyer Selected to NFHCA Senior Game
    Senior back Megan Bozek and senior midfielder Casey Pohlmeyer have been selected to compete in the prestigious Front Rush/NFHCA Division I Senior Game that will be played Nov. 23 at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.
    This is the fifth consecutive year the Wildcats will be represented at the event. Dating back to 2009, senior forward and current Wildcats' assistant coach Meg Shea was named to the squad. In 2010, it was midfielder Kara Connolly representing UNH in College Park, Md. In 2011, the game was held at the University of Maryland, where UNH sent a pair of seniors – forward Whitney Frates and back Kyle Lyons. In 2012, senior midfielder Emma Erler played in the game at Old Dominion.

'Cat Nips
    Senior forward Hannah Richard matched her career highs in both goals (two) and points (four) in the America East Championship title game against University at Albany on Nov. 9.
    Senior back Megan Bozek scored on a penalty stroke in the conference championship game vs. Albany. She is 3-for-5 on strokes this season. No other Wildcats has attempted a stroke this season.
    Sophomore forward Meg Flatley has exceeded her rookie totals (9-3-21) in goals (16), assists (five) and points (37); Flatley has tallied a point in 15 of 21 games with a goal in 12 of 21; she leads the 'Cats in goals, points and shots (58). She carries a five-game point streak into Saturday's NCAA first round game at Duke with five goals and two assists (12 points) in that span, and that includes a career-high five points against Fairfield (Nov. 1); Flatley's current point streak began with a goal in four straight games.
    Junior goalkeeper Carlie Tarbell has played all 1521:01 in goal this season. She recorded five consecutive shutouts spanning Oct. 18 to Nov. 1 and her shutout streak ended at 404 minutes, 50 seconds in the Nov. 3 regular-season finale at Dartmouth College. Tarbell recorded her sixth shutout of the season – seventh career – with a three-save effort in last Thursday's semifinal vs. Fairfield.
    Junior midfielder Kellie Joyce saw her streak of five consecutive games with an assist end in the America East championship game. Her streak was compiled against UMass Lowell, Vermont, Fairfield, Dartmouth and the America East semi vs. Fairfield. She matched her career high of two assists at UVM.
    Senior midfielder Melyssa Woods has established personal single-season highs in goals (three), assists (four) and points (10).
    Senior midfielder Casey Pohlmeyer has matched her single-season high in assists (nine).

Postseason History
    UNH is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats have a 2-9 overall record that includes 1-6 in the first roud and 1-2 in the second round. Since falling to Iowa in overtime of the 1986 national championship game, the 'Cats are 0-5 (all in the first round – 1987, 1989, 1998, 2000, 2011).
    New Hampshire has never played Duke nor Virginia in postseason play. UNH lost the only previous NCAA tourney game against UMass, 2-0 at home in 1987. The Wildcats and Minutewomen split a pair of EAIAW tourney games back in 1976 (3-2 win) and 1979 (2-0 loss).

That's Outstanding
    Senior back Megan Bozek was named the America East Championship Most Outstanding Player following the conclusion of the tournament. She was joined on the All-Championship Team by teammates Meg Flatley, Casey Pohlmeyer and Carlie Tarbell.

Double Digit Wins
    With 15 wins this season, UNH has reached double digit victories for the fifth consecutive season. The current streak began in 2009 (12-7) and continued in 2010 (14-7), 2011 (17-5) and 2012 (12-8). New Hampshire recorded five straight winning seasons just one other time in its 39-year history – 1983 (14), 1984 (16), 1985 (13), 1986 (17) and 1987 (10).
    The 15 wins is the fifth highest total in program history. The 'Cats tallied 17 wins in both 1986 and 2011, as well as 16 in both 1980 and 1984.

Shut Out
    New Hampshire shut out five consecutive opponents – Albany, Bucknell, UMass Lowell, Vermont and Fairfield – spanning Oct. 18 to Nov. 1. The Wildcats recorded its sixth shutout with last Thursday's 4-0 victory vs. Fairfield in the America East Championship semifinal. (The 'Cats also blanked six opponents in the 2011 season.)
    Prior to this season, the last time the 'Cats shut out five consecutive opponents was September 1984 (six games); UNH also recorded five straight shutouts in October 1983 and Sept.-Oct. 1980. The program record is seven in 1977.

Single Season Superlatives
    Sophomore forward Meg Flatley is currently tied at No. 11 on UNH's list of single-season superlatives in both goals (16) and points (37). On her next goal, she will move into a tie for No. 8 with Jessica Russell (2000), Dottie Catlin (1994) and Rebecca Provost (1993); ahead of them on the list are Karen Geromini (1985) and Gaby Haroules (1979) at No. 6 with 19 goals apiece.
    Flatley needs one point to climb into a ninth-place tie with Gaby Haroules (1979) and Barb Marois (1984); Flatley will ascend into eighth place with Becky Craigue with two more points and into No. 7 with Jessica Russell with three more points.

Winning Ways
    During the eight-game win streak, UNH has recorded almost as many shots each half (70-1st; 67-2nd) than the opposition has overall (68). The same is true of penalty corners with 30 in the first half and 32 in the second compared to 28 overall by the opponent. The Wildcats also have an impressive .226 shooting percentage with 31 goals on 137 shots.

Battle of the 'Cats
    UNH recorded season highs in goals (seven), assists (five), points (19) and shots (38) Oct. 27 at Vermont ... The Wildcats held the Catamounts without a shot in the second half and to a total of two [UNH did not allow UMass Lowell to record a shot in the first half (Oct. 25) and limited the River Hawks to five overall]
    Chandler Giese scored her first goal at Vermont. Lynne Lehman tallied career highs in both goals (two) and points (four). Hannah Richard matched her personal best of two goals. Kellie Joyce matched her career high of two assists.

Hunting for October
    UNH went 6-2 in October (3-1 both home and away) and closed the month with a four-game winning streak – all by shutout. The Wildcats outscored the opposition 26-10, including 13-4 in the second half, and also tallied a sizeable advantage in both shots (159-81) and penalty corners (70-41). The offense was led by Hannah Richard (5g), Meg Flatley (4g, 1a), Lynne Lehman (4g, 1a) and Casey Pohlmeyer (3g, 3a). Carlie Tarbell compiled a 1.23 GAA and .796 save percentage with four shutouts.

Working Overtime
    New Hampshire played three overtime games in the 2013 regular season. Most recently, UNH prevailed 3-2 against Maine on Oct. 11 when Meg Flatley scored with 4:14 remaining in the first OT. The Wildcats also won 3-2 in overtime at (then) seventh-ranked UMass on Sept. 27.
    The Wildcats lost in a shootout, 3-2, to Ohio State on Sept. 1 after the games played to a 2-2 tie through regulation and both 15-minute overtime periods; it was the first time a UNH game was decided by shootout (prior to this season, games beyond two OTs were decided by penalty strokes).

National Competition
    UNH has faced seven nationally-ranked teams this season and has a 3-4 record. The Wildcats upended No. 7 UMass (3-2 in OT, Sept. 27) and No. 12 Albany (3-0, Oct. 18), then defeated the Great Danes again in the America East title game -- this time with a No. 16 ranking. The 'Cats lost to No. 2 Maryland (8-4, Aug. 31), No. 3 Syracuse (3-1, Oct. 13), No. 9 Boston College (3-1, Oct. 4) and No. 12 Stanford (5-1, Sept. 6).

Conference Call
    On the America East leaderboards, UNH ranks fourth in offense (2.81 gpg) and second in defense (1.66 gpg). In other stats, the Wildcats are first in penalty corners (8.10/game) and third in shots (16.19/game).
    Carlie Tarbell is No. 1 in save percentage (.758) and No. 2 in GAA. (1.66). Meg Flatley ranks third in goals per game and fourth in points per game as well as second in game-winning goals and fifth in shots per game. Casey Pohlmeyer is No. 7 in assists/game while Hannah Richard is sixth in goals/game, seventh in points/game and atop the leaderboard in game-winning goals.

Saluting the Seniors
    The senior quartet has led UNH to four consecutive America East regular-season titles with an 19-1 conference record and 56 wins overall. These 'Cats also advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2011.
    Melyssa Woods has been a four-year starter and staple in the midfield since arriving in 2009, when she was named to the America East All-Rookie Team. She became an integral part of both penalty corner units as a junior in 2011. After a redshirt year in 2012, Melyssa has returned to patrolling the midfield and playing on the penalty corners for the 'Cats this season, and she has recorded single-season highs in goals (three), assists (four) and points (10). In 83 career games, she has tallied eight goals and six assists for 22 points. She was an All-Conference Second Team selection this year.
    Hannah Richard has been one of UNH's top goal scorers the past two seasons. She had a breakout junior year in which she led the team in both goals (14) and points (32). This year, she has tallied 13 goals and 26 points to rank second on the squad in both statistics, and she also has a .361 shooting percentage. In 80 career games, Hannah has recorded 28 goals and five assists for 61 points. Her accolades include America East Academic Honor Roll and All-Conference Second Team (2012 & 2013).
    Casey Pohlmeyer has been a starter and integral part of both penalty corner units all four years at New Hampshire. This midfielder led the Wildcats in assists last year and is duplicating that feat as a senior with nine assists through 21 games. In 84 career games, Casey has compiled 17 goals and 21 assists for 55 points. The 21 assists ranks ninth in UNH's all-time leaderboard. Her collegiate accolades include America East Academic Honor Roll (three times), All-Academic Team, All-Conference First Team (twice) and All-Rookie Team.
    Megan Bozek is another four-year starter and a stalwart on the defensive end of the field, including the penalty corner unit. In addition to consistently leading the team in defensive saves, she is also a key part to the success of the offensive penalty corner unit as she ranks third on this year's team in both goals and points. In 84 career games, Megan has tallied 29 goals and eight assists for 66 points. Her career accolades include NFHCA All-Academic Squad, America East Academic Honor Roll, America East All-Academic Team, All-Rookie Team, All-Conference Second Team, All-Conference First Team (twice), America East Defensive Player of the Year (twice), All-Region Second Team, All-Region First Team and All-America Third Team.

Shooting to Score
    Meg Flatley leads the team in shots, but the volume of shots isn't the only reason she is UNH's top scorer. With 16 goals on 58 shots, Flatley has a very impressive .276 shooting percentage that is bested only by Hannah Richard (.361; 13g/36sh) and Lynne Lehman (.385; 5g/13sh).
D-D-D–Defense
    The Wildcats have limited the opposition to single digits in shots eight times, which included three consecutive America East conference games against UMass Lowell (Oct. 25; five shots), Vermont (Oct. 27; two shots) and Fairfield (Nov. 1; three shots) as well as the America East semifinal vs. Fairfield (seven shots). Also of note, UNH held nationally-ranked Boston College to seven shots.

Cornering the Opposition
    New Hampshire is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation in penalty corners per game (8.40) – the offense is No. 19 (2.90 goals per game).
    The Wildcats have tallied more penalty corners than the opposition in 16 of 21 games, including the initial seven games of the current eight-game win streak, and are 13-3 in those games; the 'Cats are 2-2 when the opponent has the advantage and 0-1 when the total is even.
     In fact, UNH had a double-digit edge in corners three times – 15-2 at Dartmouth, 16-5 at Hofstra and 14-4 at Vermont – and recorded double digits a total of six times (including 11 in Thursday's semi).
    New Hampshire doubled up the America East conference in corners, 42-21. Maine, with nine, accounted for nearly half that total.

Staying Classy
    Three of the top four point producers are seniors – Hannah Richard, Megan Bozek, and Casey Pohlmeyer – but sophomore Meg Flatley sits atop the leaderboard. All four goals in last Thursday's America East semifinal against Fairfield were scored by sophomores; the senior class scored all three goals in the title game vs. Albany. Here is a glance at the class breakdown with number of players per class indicated in parenthesis:
    G (%)    A (%)    P (%)
Senior (4)    28 (47)    16 (42)    72 (46)
Junior (3)    2   (3)    7 (18)    11   (7)
Sophomore (8)    30 (50)    12 (32)    72 (46)
Freshman (4)    0   (0)    3   (8)    3   (2)

First Blood
    UNH has scored the game's first goal in 11 of 21 games and has an 9-2 record in those games – the two losses were to nationally-ranked Syracuse (Oct. 13) and Stanford (Sept. 6). The Wildcats were 6-4 when falling behind 1-0.
    New Hampshire extended its 1-0 lead to 2-0 seven times, of which six were shutout victories.

It's a 35-Minute Game?
    When leading at halftime, New Hampshire won 8 of 9 games – the lone loss was at nationally-ranked Stanford, when UNH led 1-0 in a 5-1 loss (Sept. 6). The Wildcats trailed at the half five times and went 2-3. A more frequent occurrence was a halftime tie, and UNH had a 4-2 record in those six games.

Made of Granite
    The University of New Hampshire roster features three Granite State natives on its 19-player roster. Hannah Richard (Hopkinton), Maegan Grew (Hampton Falls) and Molly Heaney (East Kingston) all call New Hampshire home.

What Day Is It?
    UNH played a majority of its regular-season games on Friday and Sunday. The Wildcats were 5-3 on Friday and 7-2 on Sunday.
    The 'Cats are 2-1 on Saturday – 8-4 loss to (then) No. 2 Maryland on Aug. 31, 2-1 win vs. Central Michigan (at Maine) on Sept. 21 and 3-2 win in last weekend's America East championship game against (then) No. 16 Albany.

Close Calls
    Eight of UNH's 21 games have been decided by one goal, including three overtime games, and the Wildcats went 6-2. The 'Cats have won each of the last six games decided by one goal, and that includes the Nov. 9 America East final vs. Albany. The losses were to Ohio State (Sept. 1) and Providence College (Sept. 13).

UNH in the National Poll
    New Hampshire debuted at No. 20 in the preseason poll. The Wildcats have bounced in and out of the polls throughout the season – always at No. 20 until climbing to No. 16 in this week's poll. Here is a week-by-week recap of this season's polls:
    NFHCA
11/12    16
11/05    --
10/29    20
10/22    20
10/15    --
10/08    --
10/01    20
09/24    --
09/17    --
09/10    --
Preseason    20

Balducci Commandeers 'Cats
    Robin Balducci, who has guided UNH to 19 postseason appearances in her 23-year tenure as head coach, is a six-time America East Coach of the Year award winner; she was feted in 1998, 2000-10-11-12-13. She is the first to receive the honor four consecutive years and is the first six-time recipient of the award.
    Balducci has led the 'Cats to six America East regular-season titles and two conference tournament titles (1998, 2011) Balducci has guided the 'Cats to NCAA tournament appearances in 1998, 2000 and 2011.
    Balducci has compiled a 23-year record of 237-223-4 with a 87-57-2 America East mark. She is the winningest coach in the program's history.
    Balducci recorded her 200th career victory Sept. 16, 2011, when the Wildcats were 5-0 victors against Holy Cross at Memorial Field.

A Look Back at the Future
    Back in August, the America East league coaches picked UNH to finish fourth in the final conference standings. Here is a comparison of the final standings and Preseason Poll:
Preseason Poll        Final Standings    
1. Albany (4)    24    1. UNH    5-0
2. UNH (1)    21    2. Albany    4-1
3. Maine (1)    18    3. Maine    3-2
4. Fairfield    12    4. Fairfield    2-3
5. UMass Lowell    8    5. UMass Lowell    1-4
6. Vermont    7    6. Vermont    0-5
    
Scouting the Blue Devils
    Duke University (Durham, N.C.) enters the NCAA tourney with a 14-6 overall record that includes 3-3 in the ACC and 9-3 at home. The Blue Devils rank fifth in this week's national poll and are the NCAA tourney No. 4 seed.
    Twelve of 20 games have been against nationally-ranked teams, and that includes each of the last three and 8 of 9; the Blue Devils are 6-6 in those 12 games. In last week's ACC tourney (at Boston College), Duke upended Virginia, 2-1, in the quarterfinal before falling to Maryland, 3-2 in overtime, in the semifinals.
    Emmie Le Marchand leads the team in goals (12), assists (10) and points (36), as well as shots (59).  Jessica Buttinger is second in points (16) and tied for second in goals (six) with Heather Morris and Cherry Seaborn. Abby Beltrani (2g, 9a) is one of the other top point producers.
    Lauren Blazing has played all but 23:21 of a possible 1508:44 in goal. She has a 1.47 GAA and .795 save percentage with three shutouts.
    Duke has outscored the opposition 50-32 overall, including 27-11 in the second half. They have played six overtime games and are 4-2.
    
UNH vs. Virginia: The All-Time Series
    UNH has a 3-3-2 lifetime record against Virginia, and that includes 2-1-2 at neutral sites. These teams faced off last October at UVA and the Cavaliers prevailed 7-0. Prior to the 2012 season, the teams had not met since September 2007. UNH's most recent victory occurred Sept. 4, 1994, when the 'Cats won 3-2.

Scouting the Cavaliers
    The seventh-ranked University of Virginia enters the NCAAs with a 15-5 overall record that includes 3-3 in the ACC, 6-2 on the road and 1-1 at neutral sites. The Cavaliers are 1-3 the last four games with losses at Maryland in the regular-season finale and against Duke (at BC) in the ACC quarterfinals; they also beat Duke at home in that stretch.
    UVA has outscored the opposition 59-29 overall and that includes 29-13 in the first half. They also have a sizable advantage in penalty corners (151-89).
    Elly Buckley (20g, 8a, 5 defensive saves) ranks No. 3 in the nation in points/game, No. 5 in goals/game and No. 14 in defensive saves. Caleigh Foust (10g), Riley Tata (10g) and Lucy Hyams (5g, 10a) are the other top point producers.
    Jenny Johnstone is the only goalie who has played this season. She ranks 19th in the nation in GAA (1.42) and her other stats include a .739 save percentage and six shutouts.
    UVA enters the weekend ranked No. 9 in defensive saves (12), 18th in GAA (1.40), 20th in goals per game (2.90) and 23rd in penalty corners (7.45/game).
        
UNH vs. UMass: The All-Time Series
    UNH has a 14-19-2 lifetime record against UMass and that includes this year's 3-2 overtime win at Amherst. These programs have met three times in postseason play, but only once in the NCAAs – the Minutewomen were 2-0 winners in 1987.

Scouting the Minutewomen
    The 10th-ranked University of Massachusetts enters the NCAAs with an 18-4 overall record that includes 7-0 in the Atlantic 10, 6-2 on the road and 2-0 at neutral sites. Since losing back-to-back games to UNH and Maryland, the Minutewomen have won 11 consecutive games.
    Last weekend, UMass captured the Atlantic 10 tourney title with a 1-0, double-overtime win against Virginia Commonwealth in the semifinal followed by a 2-1 victory vs. Richmond. The Minutewomen also needed overtime to upend St. Francis (Pa.) in the regular-season finale and went to an overtime penalty shootout to beat Richmond (Oct. 25).
    Brooke Sabia (19g, 1a) ranks No. 8 in the nation in goals/game while Alexa Sikalis (2g, 19a) is No. 2 in assists/game. Hannah Prince (7g, 11a) and Izzie Delario (8g, 7a) are two of the other top point producers.
    Sam Carlino, who has started all 22 games and played every second in goal,  is 14th in GAA (1.30). She has a .730 save percentage and six shutouts.
    UMass has outscored the opposition 77-30 with a 27-8 margin in the first half and 47-21 in the second. The Minutewomen have also tallied a decisive edge in penalty corners, 190-101.

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