SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 6 Salisbury University field hockey team is set to begin its run toward what the Sea Gulls hope ends with the program's sixth national championship. Salisbury will take on No. 11 Trinity (Conn.) College in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Tournament on Saturday, November 11, beginning at 2 p.m., at Messiah College.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls received an at-large bid after falling 2-1 in overtime in the Capital Athletic Conference championship. Salisbury was the No. 2 seed in the CAC tournament after a 5-1 CAC campaign and traveled to top-seeded Christopher Newport University for the CAC championship match. Senior Natalie Wilkinson scored the first goal of the game, less than six minutes into the contest. The Captains drew even in the second half, sending the game to overtime where sophomore defender Jillian Hughes made two defensive saves to keep the game going, but Christopher Newport scored in the second overtime to claim the title.
How they got here
The Bantams went 12-6 in the regular season, earning an at-large bid to the tournament following a 5-0 defeat in the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship match against Middlebury College. Trinity topped Gwynedd Mercy University in a first-round NCAA tournament game this past Wednesday in Hartford, Connecticut, 5-3. After falling behind, 2-1, at halftime, the Bantams scored four straight goals. Kelcie Finn scored the final three goals to push Trinity to Saturday's game.
This will mark just the second all-time meeting between Salisbury and Trinity in field hockey. The only previous contest came in 1982 when the Sea Gulls picked up a 3-0 victory.
Scouting the Bantams
Finn leads Trinity in scoring with 29 goals this season and her 1.53 goals per game lead the NESCAC and rank fourth nationally. Finn is joined by Chandler Solimine as a double-digit scorer, as she has tallied 10 goals. Finn and Nicole Quinlan have each dished out nine assists. Senior Lori Berger has played every minute in goal for the Bantams, stopping 122 shots and recording a 1.89 goals-against average.
Saturday's game will be the second neutral-site game for each team this season. Salisbury's first game of the 2017 campaign was a 4-0 victory against King's (Pa.) University at a tournament at Misericordia. The Bantams' lone neutral-site contest was a 3-2 win in the NESCAC semifinals against Williams College last Saturday played at Middlebury.
The winner of Saturday's game will be back in action on Sunday, November 12, taking on the winner of the second-round contest between top-ranked Messiah College and Washington and Lee University. The third-round game will begin at 1 p.m.