Game Day: #9 Field Hockey Travels to N. Carolina For NCAA Tourney Opening Weekend, Plays #8 Michigan on Nov. 12
The University of New Hampshire field hockey team, ranked No. 9 in this week's national poll, enters the 2011 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship with a 17-4 record. The Wildcats travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to play eighth-ranked University of Michigan in a Nov. 12 (2 p.m.) first-round game at Francis E. Henry Stadium.
UNH has a 2-4 lifetime record against Michigan. This will be the first postseason meeting between the programs. These teams have played at a neutral site twice before and UNH won both meetings.
The most recent meeting as Sept. 24, 2010 at Michigan and the Wolverines prevailed 2-1. U-M took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute and held that one-goal advantage until Emma Erler leveled the score in the 42nd minute. The home team regained the lead with 9:39 remaining. The Wolverines recorded a 16-9 shot advantage, including 12-4 in the second half, as well as an 11-6 edge in penalty corners.
UNH and Michigan also met in October 2009 (at Harvard University's Jordan Field), and the Wildcats were 3-2 victors in overtime. The 'Cats generated the advantage in shots (26-18) and corners were even at 5-5.
These programs also met in consecutive seasons in 2003 (Michigan 5-0 home win) and 2004 (Michigan 8-1 road win). UNH won the first meeting (September 1991; 6-1 at Springfield College) and Michigan won 5-1 in October 1996.
New Hampshire has a 3-0 record against the 2011 NCAA tournament field. The Wildcats defeated Ohio State University (3-1 on the road; Aug. 27), Northeastern University (4-0 at home; Sept 18) and Stanford University (6-3 at home; Oct. 9).
UNH had a 2-1 record against Big 10 teams. The 'Cats were victorious against Ohio State and Michigan State (5-3 on the road; Oct. 2) and were defeated by Northwestern University (5-4 at Louisville; Sept. 24).
All four teams at the North Carolina region were 2011 league regular-season champions: UNH (America East), Michigan (Big 10), North Carolina (ACC) and Ohio (Mid-American).
Three of the four teams also won the league tournament title: UNH, UNC and Ohio. Michigan finished as runner-up.
Three of the four teams are led by the respective league's Coach of the Year: UNH, Michigan and Ohio. UNH – America East's award is officially called Coaching Staff of the Year – also received that honor in 2010.
This region also boasts a Player of the Year (Ohio's Louzeth Schutte), two Offensive Player of the Year recipients (UNH's Whitney Frates; UNC's Kelsey Kolojejchick), and a Defensive Player of the Year (UNC's Caitlin Van Sickle).
The combined record of the four teams is 70-15 (.824 win%).
The State of New Hampshire
UNH captured its second America East tournament title last weekend by defeating then No. 12 Albany (1-0) in the semifinal and then No. 17 Boston University (4-2) in the championship game; both games were at UNH's Memorial Field. The Wildcats' other conference tourney title was in 1998.
New Hampshire defended its 2010 America East regular-season championship as co-champions in 2011 (with a 4-1 conference record). It is the team's first back-to-back titles in program history.
The Wildcats have now won four America East regular-season titles. In addition to 2011 and 2010, the 'Cats shared the '02 crown and won the 2000 title outright.
New Hampshire's 17 victories ties the program record for wins in a season that was established by the 1986 national runner-up squad.
UNH has recorded double-digit victories each of the last three years (14 in 2010; 12 in 2009), a feat last accomplished spanning the 1989 (14), 1990 (10) and 1991 (11) seasons.
The Wildcats enter NCAA postseason play on a three-game winning streak and are 5-1 in the last six games.
Seven of the last eight games have been against nationally-ranked teams (6-2 record).
UNH's 11-game conference winning streak ended Oct. 29 with a 3-2 road loss to Albany. The 'Cats had not lost a league regular-season game since Oct. 17, 2009 at Boston University (2-1).
Dating back to the 2009 America East championship game, the only league team to defeat UNH is Albany. The Wildcats have a 2-3 record vs. the Great Danes in that span (including two tourney losses) and are 11-0 against the other four America East teams (3-0 vs. Maine, including the 2010 semifinal; 3-0 vs. BU, including the 2011 championship game).
This year's Wildcat team has eclipsed the program's single-season record in goals (74), assists (56) and points (204). The previous benchmark of 64 goals was established in 1984 squad, the 1994 team tallied 54 assists and the 2009 'Cats amassed 170 points.
UNH has scored 5+ goals seven times this season – best in program history; the 1978 squad had accomplished that feat six times.
Hayley Rausch has recorded a point in 20 of 21 games. She enters NCAA postseason play with a point in six consecutive games. Rausch scored a goal in 17 games, including a stretch of eight consecutive games, with six multiple-goal efforts.
Whitney Frates has recorded a point in 16 of 20 games. She scored a goal in 11 games with eight multiple-goal efforts. In eight October games, Frates recorded 12 goals and five assists for 29 points.
Kyle Lyons has had another stellar unit on the defensive unit as well as a member of the offensive penalty corner unit. She recorded a career-high two assists in the regular-season finale at Harvard University (Oct. 30) to increase her season total to eight, which is a personal single-season best. She has recorded a point in six of the last 10 games and has 22 points overall in 2011.
Emma Erler, who recorded totals of two goals and two assists her first two years as a Wildcat, ranks second on this year's team in assists (10) as well as fourth in points (18).
Megan Bozek recorded her third defensive save of the season in the Oct. 30 regular-season finale at Harvard University. She has three of the team's four defensive saves – Kyle Lyons has the other.
Casey Pohlmeyer recorded a career-high three points (goal, assist) at Harvard.
UNH has had the same starting lineup in 19 of 21 games. Nine players have started all 21 games and two others started 20 of 21.
NCAA Postseason History
UNH will be making its ninth NCAA tournament appearance overall and first since 2000. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAAs five consecutive years (1983-87) and six times overall in the 1980s; the other appearance was 1998.
UNH's best finish was in 1986, when the team lost 2-1 in double overtime of the national championship game at Iowa, and its overall NCAA postseason record is 2-8 (0-3 at neutral sites; 2-4 on the road; 0-1 at home).
The 'Cats have a 1-5 record, including 0-3 at neutral sites, in first-round games. They are 1-2 in the second round – all three games were on the road.
How We Got Here
New Hampshire earned one of five automatic qualifier berths into the 2011 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship by winning the America East Championship tournament. The Wildcats defeated 17th-ranked Boston University, 4-2, in the Nov. 6 conference title game at UNH's Memorial Field. UNH advanced out of the semifinals with a 1-0 win against 12th-ranked University at Albany on Nov. 4.
In last Friday's semifinal, the visiting Great Danes of Albany controlled play the majority of the first half and generated a 6-1 shot advantage the opening 35 minutes, but the game remained scoreless heading into intermission. The Wildcats turned the tables in the second half by recorded a 4-0 shot advantage, and Hayley Rausch scored the game's only goal with 2:46 remaining in regulation when she batted Emma Erler's centering pass into the open cage. Katherine Nagengast recorded four saves for her fourth shutout of the season (third against a nationally-ranked team).
Rausch scored the first and last goals of the championship game – she also assisted on the game-winning goal – to lead New Hampshire to the 4-2 victory in last Sunday's America East title game. She gave the 'Cats a 1-0 lead at 2:13, and after BU tied the score at 17:22 the Wildcats scored at 22:21 (Megan Bozek) and 27:09 (Kyle Lyons) to establish a two-goal advantage of 3-1. The Terriers pulled within 3-2 in the 29th minute but Rausch's goal at 52:44 gave the home team another two-goal lead.
With a seven-point weekend (3g, 1a), Rausch was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. She was joined on the America East All-Championship Team by Lyons, Nagengast and Whitney Frates.
The winner of this region advances to the national semifinals, which will be played Nov. 18 (2 or 4:30 p.m.) at the University of Louisville's Trager Stadium. The national championship game, also at Trager Stadium, is Nov. 20 (12 p.m.).
UNH Receives 10 America East Awards
Whitney Frates was named the America East Offensive Player of the Year and New Hampshire, led by 21st-year head coach Robin Balducci, was named the conference's Coaching Staff of the Year.
Frates, a unanimous selection as Offensive Player of the Year, was joined on the America East All-Conference First Team by Kyle Lyons and Hayley Rausch. Frates is a three-time First Team selection and Lyons received the honor for the second time in as many years.
Megan Bozek, Kendall Deck and Katherine Nagengast were named to the Second Team. It marked the third consecutive Second Team selection for Deck.
Maegan Grew and Kellie Joyce were the two 'Cats named to the All-Rookie Team.
New Hampshire has played games on back-to-back days five times this season (once was the completion of a suspended game). The Wildcats had a 2-3 record on the first day (1-1 at home; 1-1 on the road; 0-1 neutral site) and 4-1 on the second day (3-1 road; 1-0 neutral).
UNH followed both front-end wins with another win.
Not Very Neutral
Saturday's NCAA first round game will be New Hampshire's third neutral-site game of the season. In the regular season, the Wildcats defeated Kent State University, 5-1, on Aug. 28 at Ohio State and also lost 5-4 to 15th-ranked Northwestern University on Sept. 24 at Louisville.
UNH has a 7-2 road record this season and that includes a 2-2 mark against nationally-ranked teams. Those ranked opponents were #6 Ohio State (3-1 win; Aug. 27); #19 Louisville (3-1 loss; Sept. 25); #15 Boston University (4-3 overtime win; Oct. 17); and #18 Albany (3-2 loss; Oct. 29).
Both of the Wildcats' overtime games were on the road – a 4-3 win at 15th-ranked Boston University (Oct. 17) and a 4-3 victory at Harvard University in the regular-season finale (Oct. 30).
New Hampshire averaged 3.56 goals per game and yielded 2.22 goals per game in nine road games. The 'Cats recorded a 157-104 shot advantage (17.4 per game to 11.6 per game) as well as a 74-48 edge in penalty corners.
Home Sweet Home
New Hampshire went 9-1 at home, including 5-1 against nationally-ranked teams, in the 2011 season. The Wildcats opened with six consecutive victories before falling 2-1 to 11th-ranked Boston College. Last weekend, the 'Cats defended their home turf to win the America East Championship tournament with wins against 12th-ranked Albany (1-0) and 17th-ranked Boston University (4-2).
UNH outscored the opposition 33-8 with a 147-79 shot advantage; in the first half, those numbers were 21-6 and 85-39, respectively. All of the team's six shutouts were recorded at home.
Hayley Rausch tallied 31 points (14g, 3a) in 10 home games and Whitney Frates finishes with 22 points (9g, 4a) in nine home games. Emma Erler (2g, 6a) was the next top scorer at Memorial Field.
Katherine Nagengast went 9-1 with a 0.87 GAA, .837 save percentage and four shutouts in 10 games. Carlie Tarbell played in two home games and did not allow a goal (two saves) in 55 minutes, 57 seconds.
The Wildcats, who recorded a 102-34 shot advantage through six home games, were outshot, 20-12, by Boston College and that included 12-4 in the second half.
UNH entered this week's action ranked #12 in the nation in both offense and assists as well as 20th in both defense and save percentage. The Wildcats have the ninth-best winning percentage (.810).
On the individual leaderboards, Hayley Rausch is #2 in points per game (2.76) and #4 in goals per game (1.19) while Whitney Frates is fourth in points (2.75 ppg) and eighth in goals (1.10 gpg).
Playing the Best Against the Best
UNH has faced off against 11 nationally-ranked teams and has a 7-4 record, including 5-1 at home, in those games. The Wildcats fared well in the first half with a 19-11 scoring advantage and 76-65 edge in shots. Overall, the 'Cats average 3.00 goals per game while yielding 2.00 per game.
Whitney Frates excelled against the top competition as she compiled 27 points (12g, 3a) in 11 games, and Hayley Rausch followed with 25 points (11g, 3a). Katherine Nagengast went 7-4 with a 2.04 GAA, .756 save percentage and three shutouts.
Through the Gauntlet
New Hampshire ran a gauntlet of five consecutive games against nationally-ranked teams spanning Oct. 9-29 and went 3-2 overall (2-1 at home). [all rankings at date of game]
It began Oct. 9 at home with a 6-3 victory against #7 Stanford. Then the 'Cats played the first half at #15 Boston University on Oct. 14 (led 2-1 when the game was suspended), lost to 11th-ranked Boston College (2-1) on Oct. 16 and completed the game at BU on Oct. 17 with a 4-3 overtime victory.
The stretch continued Oct. 21 with a Senior Day game against interstate rival Maine in which UNH prevailed 3-0 against the 13th-ranked team in the nation, then concluded with a 3-2 loss at #18 Albany on Oct. 29.
UNH ended the regular season ranked second in the America East conference in offense and fourth in defense. A handful of UNH Wildcats ranked among the league leaders (all games; all stats listed are per-game averages) and that included the top two in both points and goals. Whitney Frates finished atop the leaderboard in both of those statistics and was followed by Hayley Rausch. The 'Cats claimed three of the top five spots in assists with Frates at #3, Emma Erler at #4 and Kyle Lyons at #5. Katherine Nagengast ranked second in saves and saves per game as well as third in save percentage and fourth in GAA.
Climbing The Charts (career)
Senior forwards Whitney Frates and Hayley Rausch have quickly ascended the UNH career leaderboards in goals, assists and points in the 2011 season.
Frates climbed past Gaby Haroules (1977-80; 119 career points) to #2 on UNH's career points leaderboard with the last of her career-high seven points Oct. 9 vs. seventh-ranked Stanford;
Rausch jumped past Haroules to No. 3 on the program's all-time points list with a goal Oct. 17 at Boston U.
Here is a look at where the dynamic duo rank on UNH career leaderboards:
1. Karen Geromini (1983-86) 162
2. Whitney Frates (2008-11) 137
3. Hayley Rausch (2008-11) 132
4. Gaby Haroules (1977-80) 119
5. Meg Shea (2006-09) 99
1. Karen Geromini (1983-86) 71
2. Gaby Haroules (1977-80) 56
3. Whitney Frates (2008-11) 51
4. Hayley Rausch (2008-11) 50
5. Katie White (2002-05) 45
6. Meg Shea (2006-09) 42
1. Becky Craigue (1995-98) 35
Whitney Frates (2008-11) 35
3. Hayley Rausch (2008-11) 32
4. Kathy Cortez (1991-94) 25
Climbing The Charts (single-season)
Hayley Rausch catapulted to the top of UNH's single-season points list in the America East title game against Boston U. (Nov. 6) with her last points of the game, a goal that gave the Wildcats a 4-2 lead that increased her season total to 58.
Here is a look at where Whitney Frates and Rausch rank on UNH's list of single-season superlatives:
1. Hayley Rausch 2011 58
2. Karen Geromini 1986 57
3. Meg Shea 2009 55
Whitney Frates 2011 55
5. Katie White 2003 44
1. Karen Geromini 1986 27
2. Whitney Frates 2011 25
3. Meg Shea 2009 23
4. Hayley Rausch 2011 22
5. Katie White 2003 21
The Century Club
In 36 years, two UNH Wildcats recorded 100 career points. This year in back-to-back games, two more 'Cats joined that exclusive list.
Whitney Frates became the third UNH Wildcat to attain the 100-point milestone with the last of her career-high three goals at Dartmouth on Sept. 11.
Hayley Rausch became the fourth UNH Wildcat to reach the 100-point milestone with the second of her two goals vs. Holy Cross on Sept. 16.
50 / 50
Fifty goals in a career and 50 points in a single season are rare accomplishments. Senior forwards Whitney Frates and Hayley Rausch have accomplished both.
Frates became just the third UNH player to score 50 career goals Oct. 30 with the first of her two goals vs. Harvard. Rausch joined the exclusive club Nov. 6 with the second of her two goals in the America East championship game against Boston University. The other Wildcats to attain that milestone are Karen Geromini (71 goals; 1983-86) and Gaby Haroules (56; 1977-80).
Frates recorded her 50th point of the season with the second of her two goals Oct. 21 against 13th-ranked University of Maine, and she was also the third 'Cat to reach that benchmark.
Rausch tallied her 50th point of the season with a goal in the Oct. 30 regular-season finale at Harvard; she entered the game with 49 career points.
Karen Geromini was the first to eclipse that number with 57 points in the 1986 season. Most recently, current volunteer assistant coach Meg Shea tallied 55 points in 2009.
You Gotta Shoot to Score
UNH has recorded the shot advantage in 15 of 21 games, and the Wildcats are 15-0 in those games. At the other end of the spectrum, the 'Cats are 2-3 when the opposition holds the edge in shots – with the wins occurred Oct. 17 at Boston U. (4-3 overtime win; 14-24 shots) and in the America East semifinal vs. Albany (1-0 win; 5-6 shots). UNH is also 0-1 (at Louisville) when the shots are even.
New Hampshire recorded a season-high 28 shots Sept. 2 against Brown University, and the second-highest total was 27 at Vermont (Oct. 7). The Wildcats tallied 20+ shots one other game – Sept. 4 at Providence (22 shots).
UNH was held to its lowest shot total (five) in last Friday's semifinal victory against 12th-ranked Albany. The team's four losses were in the next four games with the lowest shot totals – 7 at Albany (3-2 loss; Oct. 29), 9 at Louisville (3-1 loss; Sept. 25); 9 vs. Northwestern (5-4 loss; Sept. 24) and 12 vs. Boston College (2-1 loss; Oct. 16).
Shooting to Score
UNH's top two goal scorers are also the top two 'Cats when it comes to shooting percentage. Hayley Rausch has a team-high .347 shooting percentage (25 goals/72 shots) and is followed by Whitney Frates at .301 (22/73). The rest of the squad combined for 27 goals on 158 shots, which calculates to a .144 shooting percentage.
The Wildcats limited an opponent to five or fewer shots four times in the regular season; five other teams were held to single digits, including four teams with six shots.
In last weekend's 2011 America East Field Hockey Championship tournament, UNH held both opponents to single digits in shots. Albany recorded just six shots (four on goal) in the Nov. 4 semifinal – the Great Danes did not tally a second-half shot – and Boston University finished with nine shots (five on goal).
Cornering the Opposition
New Hampshire generated the advantage in penalty corners 12 times in 19 regular-season games for an overall margin of 136-97 that included a 82-48 edge in the first half. UNH did not generate a penalty corner in the 3-2 loss at 18th-ranked Albany (Oct. 29). The last time UNH did not have a penalty corner in a game was Sept. 24, 2006 (3-1 loss at Indiana).
The Wildcats generated a 10-5 edge in penalty corners in the America East championship game against 17th-ranked Boston University, and that included 7-0 in the first half. UNH and 12th-ranked Albany generated the same number of corners in the semifinal game.
The five-member senior class features the team's top three point scorers (Whitney Frates, Hayley Rausch, Kyle Lyons), top three goal scorers (Frates, Rausch, Lyons), top four of five in assists (Frates, Kendall Deck, Lyons and Rausch) and the goalkeeper (Katherine Nagengast) who started 20 of 21 games, including both America East tournament games.
Overall, the four field players account for 54 of 74 goals (73%), 36 of 56 assists (64%) and 144 of 204 points (71%).
UNH scored the game's first goal in 16 of 21 games, including both America East tournament games, and went on to victory all 16 times. The Wildcats have a 1-4 record when the opposition takes a 1-0 lead; the win came at Providence College (6-1), while the losses were to Northwestern (5-4), Louisville (3-1), Boston College (2-1) and Albany (3-2).
It's a 35-minute game?
When leading at halftime, New Hampshire is unbeaten at 13-0. The Wildcats were also 4-1 when tied at the half and winless (0-3) when trailing through 35 minutes of play.
Made of Granite
The University of New Hampshire roster features five Granite State natives on its 22-player roster. Juniors Emma Erler (New Hampton) and Mary Quill (Portsmouth) hail from New Hampshire, as do sophomores Hannah Richard (Hopkinton) and Tori Welch (East Hampstead) as well as freshman Maegan Grew (Hampton Falls).
New Hampshire played into overtime three times this season and prevailed every times. UNH upended Rutgers, 2-1, Sept. 10 at home, defeated nationally-ranked Boston University, 4-3, in mid-October on the road and outlasted Harvard, 4-3, in the regular-season finale in Cambridge, Mass.
The Wildcats most recent loss in extra time occurred in the 2010 America East Championship title game against Albany (3-2 on Nov. 6).
Saturday & Sunday Settings
New Hampshire played four Saturday games and went 2-2 overall – 1-0 at home; 1-1 on the road and 0-1 at neutral sites.
UNH has played 10 games on Sunday and is 8-2 overall, including 4-1 on the road.
Seven of UNH's 21 games were decided by one goal and the Wildcats were 5-2 in those games. Six of the last nine games had a one-goal differential and that including a 1-0 victory against 12th-ranked Albany in the America East semifinal game.
In the regular season, the 'Cats won on the road against Vermont (2-1, Oct. 7) and 15th-ranked Boston University (4-3 in OT, Oct. 14&17) and Harvard (4-3 in OT, Oct. 30); they lost to 11th-ranked Boston College (2-1, Oct. 16) as well as on the road to 18th-ranked Albany (3-2, Oct. 29).
Not So Close
Eight of UNH's 21 games were decided by three or more goals, and the Wildcats were victorious in all eight of those games.
The Great Eight
UNH opened the 2011 season with eight consecutive victories to mark the team's longest win streak at the outset of a season since 1984 (10-0). The last time the Wildcats had an eight-game winning streak was 1986; the 1990 team had a 10-game unbeaten streak that included three ties.
Through eight games, UNH was the national leader in defense with six goals allowed (0.75 goals allowed per game).
In other national rankings through eight games, Rausch was #1 in points per game and #2 in goals per game... Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass./Westborough) also ranked in the top 10 in two statistics at #4 in goals-against-average and #8 in save percentage.
New Hampshire's eight-game winning streak began with a 3-1 victory at sixth-ranked Ohio State. It marked the Wildcats' first win vs. a top-10 team since defeating #7 Boston College in September, 1998.
The following weekend, Hayley Rausch established a career high of three goals vs. Brown, then matched that total and recorded a career-high seven points at Providence to help the 'Cats improve to 4-0. A Wildcat had not posted a three-goal game since October 2009, and no 'Cat had recorded back-to-back three-goal efforts since 1986 (Karen Geromini).
New Hampshire then upended Rutgers, 2-1, in overtime at Memorial Field and one day later traveled across the Granite State for a 5-2 win against Dartmouth. UNH scored five second-half goals at DC; it marked the highest total in a half since scoring five first-half goals vs. Davidson in September 2009.
UNH extended the win streak to eight games with shutout victories at home against both Holy Cross (5-0) and 20th-ranked Northeastern (4-0) in which the Wildcats outshot the opposition 33-10 and seven different players scored a goal.
Emma Erler factored in five of the team's nine goals that weekend as she recorded career highs in both assists (two) and points (four) vs. Holy Cross and then matched that assist total vs. NU.
The 'Cats went 7-2 in September to mark the highest win total in that month since the 2002 squad went 7-3.
UNH went 5-0 at home in September; the 'Cats outscored the opposition 18-1 with a 90-23 shot advantage in those five games.
Fast Track to 10
UNH reached double-digit victories for the third consecutive year with a 5-3 victory at Michigan State; this is the fastest the Wildcats attained their 10th win since the 1989 team also started 10-2.
The 12-2 record marked the team's best record through 14 games since the 1986 squad also went 12-2 en route to a 17-3 overall record.
UNH in the National Poll
New Hampshire has been a top 10 team in seven of nine regular-season NFHCA polls. The Wildcats entered the national polls at #12 on Sept. 6 to mark their highest ranking since September 1998 (#10).
The No. 7 national ranking (Sept. 20) marked the first time since October 1997 the team was ranked higher than 10th and the highest ranking since September 1995 (No. 5).
Here is a week-by-week recap of this season's polls (Synapse Sports oversees womensfieldhockey.com):
11.08 9 10
11.01 10 12
10.25 10 14
10.18 10 14
10.11 8 11
10.04 12 18
09.27 10 17
09.20 7 9
09.13 10 11
Balducci Commandeers 'Cats
Robin Balducci, the America East Coach of the Year in 1998, 2000, 2010 and 2011, has guided UNH to 17 postseason appearances in her 21-year tenure as head coach. She led the Wildcats to their 16th America East tournament postseason appearance in 2011 and second America East tourney title (other was in 1998). Prior to this season, Balducci led the 'Cats to NCAA tournament appearances in 1998 and 2000.
Balducci has compiled a 21-year record of 210-208-4 with a 77-57-2 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.
Scouting the Wolverines
The University of Michigan, led by Big 10 Coach of the Year Marcia Pankratz, enters the NCAA tournament with a 14-6 overall record that includes 5-1 in the Big 10, 2-0 at neutral sites and 6-5 against nationally-ranked teams.
The Wolverines, who won the Big 10 regular-season crown for the second consecutive year, were defeated 3-2 by Penn State in the Big 10 championship game last Sunday. They advanced from the semifinals by defeating Iowa for the second time this season (2-0 in the regular season; 4-1 in the tourney).
Michigan lost two of its last three regular-season games (4-3 double overtime loss at North Carolina; 4-2 win vs. Indiana; 3-0 loss to Stanford in the regular-season finale). Prior to that, U-M had won six consecutive games spanning Sept. 24 to Oct. 21.
The Wolverines are making their 10th NCAA tournament appearance overall and second in as many years. U-M is making a return trip to Henry Stadium, where it lost 1-0 to Old Dominion in last year's first round. The Wolverines won the 2001 national title.
Michigan is led offensively by Rachael Mack (14g, 3a), Emy Guttman (11g, 2a) and Bryn Bain (7g, 9a). Mack and Bain were joined on the All-Big Ten First Team by Aline Fobe (5g, 7a; team-high three defensive saves).
Two goalkeepers have split time almost evenly. Haley Jones (12 games) is 8-3 with a 1.38 GAA, .611 save percentage and three shutouts. Christi Barwick (11 games) is 6-3 with a 1.53 GAA, .692 save percentage and two shutouts.
U-M has been a dominant second-half team with a 34-12 scoring advantage that includes a 159-82 edge in shots.
New Hampshire and Michigan played five common opponents in 2011. Here is the comparison:
Boston University Win (4-3 / ot) Win (3-1)
Ohio State Win (3-1) Loss (2-1)
Northwestern Loss (5-4) Win (3-2 / 2ot)
Michigan State Win (5-3) Win (2-0)
Stanford Win (6-3) Loss (3-0)
Overall record 5-1 3-2
Scouting the Tar Heels
The University of North Carolina is the top overall seed of the NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels enter the weekend at 20-1 overall, which includes 6-0 in the ACC and 10-1 at home, as well as 9-1 against nationally-ranked teams.
Carolina won the ACC regular-season title and followed that with the league tournament title last weekend with 2-1 victories against Wake Forest (in the semifinal) and Duke (championship game).
Since losing 3-1 to Old Dominion on Sept. 16, the Tar Heels have won 15 consecutive games, and that includes a 3-2 overtime win at Old Dominion.
North Carolina has won six NCAA titles; the most recent was '09. This will be the team's 28th NCAA tourney appearance in head coach Karen Shelton's 31-year tenure.
Kelsey Kolojejchick, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, leads the team in both goals (19) and points (45). Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany is second in both stats with 14 goals and 29 points. She is followed by Samantha Travers (11g, 3a), Elizabeth Stephens (8g, 6a) and Caitlin Van Sickle (6g, 9a). Van Sickle, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, is one of four Tar Heels tied for the team lead in assists; the others are Katie Ardrey, Marta Maimberg and Katelyn Falgowski.
Sassi Ammer is the top goalie. In 21 games (16 starts), she went 17-1 with a 0.68 GAA and .718 save percentage.
Carolina has outscored the opposition 83-17 overall, including 39-6 in the first half. The Tar Heels have a 409-99 shot advantage with a 204-33 edge in the first half. UNC has a 9-0 record in one-goal games and each of the last five games have been one-goal margins.
Scouting the Bobcats
Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), ranked 20th in this week's national poll, enters the weekend with a 19-4 overall record that includes 9-1 in the Mid-American Conference, 7-2 on the road, 2-0 at neutral sites and 2-1 against nationally-ranked teams (wins against Ohio State and American; loss to Iowa).
The Bobcats, led by MAC Coach of the Year Neil Macmillan, swept the league regular-season and tournament titles. They defeated Miami University, 1-0, in the league semifinals, then upended Kent State, 2-1 in overtime, to claim the tourney title. In Tuesday afternoon's play-in game against Patriot League champion Lafayette, Ohio prevailed 2-1 in overtime.
This is Ohio's third NCAA tournament appearance. The Bobcats were ousted in the first round in both 2007 (by Michigan) and 2001 (Wake Forest).
Jessica Jue (10g, 18a) and Taylor Brown (15g, 3a) lead the attack. Cathryn Altdoerffer (10g, 7a), Brooke Edwards (9g, 5a) and Laura Mastro (3g, 15a) have also eclipsed 20 points and Louzeth Schutte (6g, 7a), the MAC Player of the Year primarily for her efforts on the defensive end of the field, is on the verge of that mark.
Schutte was joined on the All-MAC First Team by Jue, Brown, Altdoerffer and goalkeeper Jen McGill. In 23 games, she is 19-4 with a 0.88 GAA, .792 save percentage and 10 shutouts. McGill allowed multiple goals just four times in 23 games.
Ohio has outscored the opposition 64-17 with a 30-5 edge in the second half. Thirteen games have been decided by one goal and that includes each of the past seven games; the Bobcats are 6-1 during the current stretch and 9-4 overall in games decided by one goal.