Field Hockey, Women's Soccer Earn ECAC Tournament Bids

Monday, November 10, 2014 - page 3

field hockey, women's soccer The Muhlenberg field hockey and women’s soccer teams were rewarded for their excellent seasons with ECAC Tournament bids.

In both sports, the tournament has an eight-team field, with the top four seeds hosting first-round games on Wednesday and the highest remaining seed hosting the semifinals and final Saturday and Sunday.

Field hockey is the second seed in the Mid-Atlantic and will host seventh-seeded Stevenson in a quarterfinal on Wednesday at 7:30. The top seed, Alvernia, will host the “final four” if it beats eighth-seeded Misericordia in the first round.

Muhlenberg (12-5) finished third in the Centennial Conference behind two teams that have been ranked in the top five in Division III this season and earned NCAA Tournament bids. The Mules have been receiving votes in the national poll for the second half of the season and were ranked fifth in the South Region at the end of the regular season.

Stevenson (12-7) set a school record for wins but finished a game out of a Commonwealth Conference playoff spot. The Mustangs average more than three goals per game and were 1-2 against Centennial Conference teams, including a 5-0 win against Gettysburg.

The other teams in the field are Lebanon Valley (3 seed), Kean (4), Arcadia (5) and McDaniel (6).

The ECAC Tournament bid is the second for the Mules. In 1998, they lost 3-2 in the first round to Swarthmore on a penalty stroke in double overtime.

Women’s soccer is the third seed in the South and will host sixth-seeded Wilkes on Wednesday at 6:00 in a rematch of the first game of the season. Lebanon Valley is the top seed and will host this weekend if it wins on Wednesday against Waynesburg.

Muhlenberg (11-6-2) finished fourth in the CC in the regular season and lost in the first round of the CC playoffs to eventual champion Swarthmore. The Mules have made appearances in the NSCAA and NCAA regional rankings this season.

Wilkes (11-8) missed out on the Freedom Conference playoffs despite finishing the season on a three-game winning streak. The Colonels reached the championship game of the ECAC Tournament two years ago.

When the two teams met back in the last weekend of August, Muhlenberg scored off a corner kick for a 1-0 win. The Mules lead the all-time series against the Colonels, 15-2, but the last three meetings have all been decided by one goal.

Muhlenberg is making its third ECAC Tournament appearance and came away as the champion in its previous two. The Mules won back-to-back ECAC Mid-Atlantic titles in 1998 and 1999, defeating CC rivals Franklin & Marshall in the first final and Johns Hopkins on penalty kicks in the second.

The other teams in the tournament are Arcadia (2 seed), DeSales (4), McDaniel (5) and Wesley (7).