SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 7 Salisbury University field hockey team opens play in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament on Wednesday, hosting a semifinal game against the University of Mary Washington, beginning at 6 p.m.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls ran the table in the CAC, posting a 5-0 mark for the program's 16th unbeaten CAC regular-season record since joining in the conference in 1994. In the team's five CAC wins, Salisbury outscored its opponents by a combined score of 21-4. The Sea Gulls secured the top seed by closing the regular season with a 2-1 win against Christopher Newport University, with Jenna Partilla scoring the game winner with less than four minutes remaining.
How they got here
Mary Washington entered the CAC tournament as the fourth-seeded team after posting a 2-3 record in the league during the regular season and bringing an 11-5 overall record into the semifinal tilt. The Eagles topped St. Mary's College of Maryland in a first-round playoff game on Sunday afternoon, 4-1. Lauren Hopkins scored twice for Mary Washington in the first-round game, including the first tally of the contest, 12 minutes into the game. Ahead 2-0, the Seahawks scored to cut the lead in half, but Hopkins got the insurance goal back just 63 seconds later and the Eagles never looked back.
Scouting the Eagles
Hopkins is the team's offensive leader, scoring more than a third of the team's goals in 2018. She has put home 14 goals this season, while Mary Washington has scored 37 total goals with no other player getting more than four. Senior goalkeeper Jessica Cavolt has been a steady force in the cage this year, playing all but 18 minutes in the goal, bringing a 1.62 goals-against average to Sea Gull Stadium on Wednesday. Mary Washington ranks fourth in scoring in the CAC, and third in goals-against average.
Last time we met
The teams met on October 13, as part of Salisbury's Homecoming weekend, with the Sea Gulls coming away with a 5-0 victory. Five different Sea Gulls scored goals in the game, with junior Arielle Johnston getting a goal and an assist. Freshman Tara Flavin scored the game's first goal, in the 13th minute, assisted by Johnston, getting one of her two game winners this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Dom Farrace made four saves to earn one of her four shutouts of the year.
Scoring her fair share
While Salisbury has seen six different players score at least five goals this year, one has been head-and-shoulders above the rest in the CAC. Tara Daddio leads the team and the league, having scored 18 times thus far in the 2018 campaign. Her total is more than any Sea Gull since Courtney Jantzen scored 22 goals in 2014. In Salisbury's 14 victories this year, Daddio is responsible for six game-winning goals and stands 19th in all of Division III field hockey, having scored 1.13 goals per game.
The winner of Wednesday's game advances to the CAC championship game against the winner of the other semifinal between second-seeded York College of Pennsylvania and third-seeded Christopher Newport University. The highest remaining seed will host the title game on Saturday, November 3.